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SPONSORED: A helping hand to find job opportunities

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There is help at hand for Scotland’s jobseekers, whether it’s getting back into work, changing ca­reer or finding your first job or work placement.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, there are opportunities out there. Make today the day you start to shape your tomorrow.

The JobHelp website from Jobcentre Plus provides advice, support and in­formation to help people back into work or make that next step in their career – but there’s lots more.

JobHelp has lots of advice and tips from ex­perienced Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches on how to improve your CV, interview chances and job search techniques. You can also find out what it’s like to work in different sectors, and how to look for jobs in them.

It’s all part of the UK Government’s Plan for Jobs – a £352 billion package which has already helped millions of Britons and saved jobs.

If you’re currently unemployed and claim­ing benefits, there are a range of specific pro­grammes available in Scotland which can help you with employment, work placements, training, getting interviews or getting advice and financial assistance to become your own boss.

The UK Gov­ernment has worked with the Scottish Govern­ment to develop these schemes and they run in addition to existing support offered by the Scottish Government.

We’re not all the same, and neither is the help on offer, it’s tailored to suit you.

Whatever your circumstances, there are op­portunities out there and JobHelp can help you find them. Take the first step and visit the JobHelp website – it’s a good place to start.

‘We can give young people the opportunity to flourish’

‘Young people bring new perspectives and help us continually innovate.’ – Caroline Clucas

It was in her first year at an all-girls secondary school that Jaxon McCracken got a taste for electrical engineering, when BAE Systems hosted a workshop there.

“They wanted to get more girls into engineering. They let us work on circuit boards and it was quite technical,” she says.

“I’ve always been interested in working at BAE because they are right next to me. I wanted to do electrical engineering – it’s cool to me and interesting.”

Jaxon has high praise for her Work Coach who supported her career choice, and she has tapped into all the support available.

An open day at BAE Systems organised by the Jobcentre Employability Hub led to a place on the Prince’s Trust Movement to Work programme and BAE Systems Get into Engineering scheme. She had to complete a two-week project researching all aspects of a ship, from the history of shipbuilding to how it floats.

When a Kickstart opportunity became available at BAE Systems, Jaxon jumped at the chance and her successful application means she’ll be starting an Operation Steelwork post in April – and she can’t wait.

“I’m very excited to start. I’ve not been able to do anything in lockdown. I miss the routine and I miss socialising.”

It’s not electrical engineering – she’ll be working with steel cutting, fabricating and welding – but she hopes it will lead on to other things with BAE Systems, such as an apprenticeship.

Caroline Clucas, Head of Early Careers and Skills – Naval Ships, BAE Systems, says the company is supporting a number of Kickstart placements across the UK, with five of them in Scotland, and it’s a chance to have a real taste of what working there is like.

BAE Systems has a history of giving job experience and placements to young people: it provided 620 placements through the Prince’s Trust Movement to Work programme, 60 per cent of which went on to get jobs with BAE Systems, local employers or further training.

The company has taken on 850 apprentices and 400 graduates too.

Kickstart opens the doors to even more youngsters and the opportunities are wide-ranging, from engineering to project management, HR to finance.

“We have worked really hard to diversify what we can offer and welcome young people from a wide range of backgrounds to our organisation,” explains Caroline, saying it benefits companies too.

“Young people bring new perspectives and help the company continually innovate.

“We can give them the opportunity to flourish that they might not get.”

“I’m very excited to start. I’ve not been able to do anything in lockdown. I Miss the routine and socialising.” – Jaxon McCracken

‘I find my job so very rewarding’

“I’m not a miracle worker by I can make a difference.” – Kerry Loughins

Kerry Loughins, a Youth Employability Work Coach in Bathgate, is passionate about her job.

She gives extra support to under-25s, helping them overcome difficulties like not having any work history, being ex-offenders, lone parents or having a health condition, all of which might present extra challenges to finding suitable work.

It’s a new role, set up in response to the pandemic, but she’s been with the department for 11 years.

“I have the luxury of spend­ing more time with that person,” she says. “It’s important for young people to understand when they come here that no two folk are the same, it’s about what they need right now.”

Kerry also stays in touch for the first six weeks of starting work – another new addition which she says is “worth its weight in gold.”

One young person she sup­ported struggled with time – their autism meant they had little concept of how a day should be set out – so she helped get an app set up on his watch to remind him when to do things like getting up, or leaving home to get the bus.

“I’m not a miracle worker but I can make a difference,” she says. “I like to think I am on the level with claimants. I have been out of work myself.”

She is frustrated at the nega­tive perception some have of the jobcentre. “I’m very proud to do the work I do, I know I’ve done right by every single customer.”

It’s not Kerry’s only job – she’s also a beauty therapist, but she won’t give it up.

“It’s not about the money, I really love the reward I get from the job.”

Where to get support


Website from Jobcentre Plus – wide range of advice, support and information for anyone looking for work.

Kickstart Scheme

Six-month paid job with an employer. Open to 16-24 year olds claiming Universal Credit.

New Enterprise Allowance (NEA)

Money and support to start your own business.  Includes a mentor and a weekly allowance. Start-up loans might also be available.  Open to those in receipt of Universal Credit, JSA or ESA.

Talk to your Jobcentre Plus Work Coach or visit the website

Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAPs)

Build confidence in a new line of work, enhance CV and gain work experience.

Six-week placement in a particular industry. Includes pre-employment training, work experience with an employer, a job interview or help with the application process.

Open to those claiming Universal Credit, JSA or ESA.

Talk to your Work Coach or visit the website.

Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS)

Helps you build confidence and motivation. Specialist support from an employment adviser, tailored action plan, help with IT, CV writing and interview preparation.

Lasts up to six months.

Open to those unemployed for at least 13 weeks and receiving Universal Credit in the Intensive Work Search Regime or New Style JSA.

Talk to your Work Coach for more information.