31st Mar 2010 - More than 2000 into work in North Lanarkshire
One of the local authorities hit hardest by the recession in Scotland is leading the way in getting unemployed people back into work.
North Lanarkshire Council announced that its two-year project to support those furthest from the labour market back into work had exceeded its original targets.
North Lanarkshire's Working, which targets groups such as the long-term unemployed and lone parents, has supported more than 2000 people into employment in the past two years. Almost 1900 people have been assisted into training or education to help them up-skill and 6693 people in total have received support from the project.
The results come despite Lanarkshire suffering significantly from redundancies during the recession.
Speaking at the North Lanarkshire's Working Conference at Maxim Office Park, Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy today praised the scheme's unique approach and said the project's success put North Lanarkshire into a strong position for economic recovery.
Mr Murphy said: "Lanarkshire was hit hard by the recession. I am greatly impressed by the progress which has been made since the Job Summit I attended in June last year. To hear that the North Lanarkshire's Working partnership has exceeded its own targets is fantastic and clearly shows what can be achieved when organisations work together.
"Through the ‘Future Jobs Fund' we are committed to helping the unemployed back into work and to not leave them to become another lost generation - which is what happened after the last recession. Already we've approved funding for the creation of 1,200 jobs in North Lanarkshire through the Future Jobs Fund."
The Scottish Secretary praised the way employment and training agencies in North Lanarkshire were working in partnership to offer job seekers a ‘one-stop-shop' route to employment and the ongoing work with local businesses to secure jobs and training opportunities for the unemployed.
North Lanarkshire's Working was launched in April 2008 with the aim of getting 2,000 people from hard-to-reach groups into employment within two years. The project was designed to offer a comprehensive package of support to help those most in need - lone parents, young people not in employment, education or training, people on incapacity benefit and the long-term unemployed.
To date, the project has given support to 6693 people and 2,092 people have been assisted back into work. In the past six months alone, 400 vacancies have been created for unemployed young people as part of the Future Jobs Fund initiative.
Funding of £10m has been secured for a further year from a range of external funds including ERDF, ESF and Fairer Scotland Funds.
Maureen McConachie, Head of Regeneration Services at North Lanarkshire Council, said: "These are challenging economic times but it is important that we plan and invest now to ensure that we are in a strong position to move out of recession and that those individuals who do need additional support are ready to take up the opportunities available.
"The future is bright for North Lanarkshire - flagship developments such as Maxim Office Park, which has the potential to create 8000 jobs, and the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh, show the employment opportunities that do still exist. The successful partnership that has worked so effectively for North Lanarkshire in the past two years will continue to help those furthest from the labour market as we move towards economic recovery."
The success of North Lanarkshire's Working has been attributed to the way organisations such as the council and local colleges worked effectively together to prepare individuals for employment and secure opportunities for them. Key workers provide one-to-one support for unemployed people, assisting with childcare, literacy skills and training as required.
For more information about job and training opportunities in North Lanarkshire, contact North Lanarkshire's Working on 0800 0730 226 or go to www.northlanarkshiresworking.co.uk.