Number of people using Sheffield Council’s employability service has doubled since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic

Written by By Molly Williams, Local Democracy Reporter, Sheffield Star

The local authority runs employment programmes which help create job opportunities in the city for unemployed adults and equips job-seekers with skills.

It said the service had seen a “huge swell” in interest and referrals since March with the number of participants being near double that of pre-Covid figures.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, a total of 1,142 people registered and 142 participants were supported into employment.

Andrew Jones, director of education and skills at Sheffield Council, said: “We are working with Job Centre Plus, local colleges and our local authority partners to ensure there is a strategic and connected response to the growth of unemployment linked to Covid-19.

“With the end of the furlough scheme, within the next couple of months, we are expecting a high demand for our services.

“We have several programmes in the pipeline which will enable us to find new employment opportunities as well as skills enhancement programmes to support productivity within the workplace. While we are undoubtedly entering a difficult period for many people, our services are on hand to ensure unemployed people are linked to the best support.”

They also support people looking for apprenticeships and between April and September last year provided advice, guidance and placement support to 581 young people with 106 of these securing an apprenticeship placement.

Over the same period during Covid they provided remote support to 355 young people with 55 of these gaining a placement. But said since the announcement of the government’s ‘Kickstart’ programme they are seeing things “ramp up significantly” with more than 100 identified apprenticeship positions in the pipeline and a surge in young people requesting support in recent weeks.

The council itself said it was creating more than 40 apprenticeship positions within its repairs and maintenance service and Opportunity Sheffield is recruiting to these positions.

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