Behind the Unemployment Headlines

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Devon Community Foundation funding boosts opportunities for local people looking for work in Exmouth 

With the UK Labour Market statistical bulletin issued this week by the Office for National Statistics, writing this blog seems very timely.

Key headlines from this report:

  • Estimates from the Labour Force Survey show that, between August to October 2017 and November 2017 to January 2018, the number of people in work and the number of unemployed people both increased but the number of people aged from 16 to 64 not working and not seeking or available to work (economically inactive) decreased
  • There were 32.25 million people in work, 168,000 more than for August to October 2017 and 402,000 more than for a year earlier
  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 75.3%, higher than for a year earlier (74.6%) and the joint highest than for a year earlier (74.6%) and the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.

Whilst these headline stats don’t tell the whole story they paint a positive picture. But the employment market is not a positive place for everyone. For those who are long-term unemployed it can be daunting. Unemployment can damage self-esteem and undermine people’s self-worth. It directly increases financial dependence and hardship and places strain on families and other social relationships. In some cases, it destroys lives.

This is where Glenorchy Work Club step-in, assisting unemployed people in the Exmouth area to find, apply for and obtain suitable work in the local area. Like many of the great initiatives supported by Devon Community Foundation, Glenorchy is run by volunteers. People who give their time, energy and expertise selflessly to help others.

The Club operates on a drop-in basis, providing a calm, friendly and focused environment for job seekers to get help. All clients are welcomed and assisted by volunteers to find the information they need. Trained advisers are also on hand to help them individually. As clients evolve their needs the Work Club conducts ‘mock’ interviews and/or helps to prepare clients for what to expect when returning to the workplace after an absence (e.g. after some years spent parenting or caring). They help job-seekers to stay in their job or if this is a temporary contract, to help them complete it and start their next job.

As with a number of my blogs building confidence and reducing isolation is key to the work this organisation does. They offer an invaluable service, which helps the whole community to prosper. By helping clients to start and stay in work, the Work Club aims to increase their morale, independence and self-confidence. This, in turn, will reduce instances of hardship and poverty, food shortage, homelessness, depression and related illness associated with unemployment.

Glenorchy Work Club is so much more than a facility for jobseekers, it is a life saver!

Nicola Evans, DCF Ambassador