What is Building Better Opportunities?
Abingdon and Witney College is working with partner organisations to deliver a free programme to help transform the lives of the long-term unemployed. The programme, Building Better Opportunities, is funded by the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund. It will focus on helping the long-term unemployed across Oxfordshire get the skills and confidence they need to get into work. Just 0.7 per cent of Oxfordshire residents were claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance as of summer 2016. While this figure is low, the reality is that those who remain unemployed face significant barriers to entering the workplace. In addition to language and cultural barriers, nearly three quarters of them (70%) suffer from mental health issues or have experienced homelessness, addiction or offending histories.
The support on offer
Building Better Opportunities will focus on supporting:
- the unemployed and economically inactive
- people aged 50+
- ethnic minorities
- people with disabilities
- people living in rural communities
We will support them in making the most of existing education and work opportunities, as well as improving their work readiness. Our aim is that they will be able to access vacancies in Oxfordshire’s growing sectors such as retail, hospitality and health and social care. This will help them rebuild their lives and will also benefit our society, help fill recruitment gaps for employers and contribute to the county’s continuing economic development. Support will be tailored to meet individual needs, but could include:
- one to one mentoring and guidance with a team of expert coaches
- working with partners to access volunteering or training opportunities
- getting ready for work (help with job hunting skills, CV writing, etc.)
- childcare provision
It is expected that a minimum of 350 people from economically deprived and rural communities across Oxfordshire will engage in the activities to improve their work readiness by September 2019. In addition, we want at least 27% of those who were economically inactive when joining the project to move into job searching. Our partners in this project are:
- Activate Learning
- WEA – Workers’ Educational Association
- Ethnic Minority Business Service
- The Buck Project
To find out more or to make a referral/refer yourself to the project, you can email BBO@abingdon-witney.ac.uk or call us on 01235 216353.