First participant enters employment

13 February 2017

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More than 50 people from local organisations came together last week for the official launch of our Work Routes service in Leeds.

Work Routes provides local unemployed people with free, one-to-one employment support - from in-house skills training and interview practice, to financial assistance with child care and travel.

The programme is set to support more than 3,100 people in Leeds and Bradford over the next three years.

Katie Roo (below middle) was congratulated at the event for being the new service's first participant to secure employment having been unemployed for more than six years.

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A lone mum to six year old Ella, Katie had struggled to find work that fit around her daughter's school hours.

"It's been extremely difficult", said Katie. "I'd been going to interviews and nothing worked out too well."

After being referred to Work Routes by the Job Centre, Katie was assigned a personal Employment Adviser - Kelly (above left) - who supported her with every aspect of her job search:

"I didn't expect [Work Routes] to be as helpful as it has been", said Katie, who is due to start her new job as a care assistant next week.

"I suffer a little bit from anxiety, and I am dyslexic, so I sometimes need help with certain things. Kelly has been really supportive, helping me put things down properly in my CV, filling in lots of forms, and pushing me in the right direction. I'm extremely proud that I came."

As well as helping people into employment, Work Routes continues to support participants even after they have secured a job. Each participant is also given exclusive access to a free health and wellbeing service, designed to support them in other areas of life, such as diet, health, lifestyle and mental health.

Looking forward to the future

Katie is looking forward to the positive changes that her new job will have for her and Ella.

"I'm a little bit nervous because I haven't been to work in such a long time, so it's all new to me. But I love helping people, so I'm sure it will be fine!

"I'm just really pleased, and I'm going to try my best to make this work - it's very flexible hours so should be able to fit around Ella.

"This job will give me and my daughter more freedom to be able to do nice things together, rather than struggling with benefits."

Work Routes is delivered in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions and funded the European Social Fund.

You find out much more about our service at workroutes.co.uk

Photos from the event by Sharon Harrison Photography.