An employability and training hub set up by a local employability partnership is celebrating a year since its launch.
The Moray Pathways Employability and Training Hub opened at the Inkwell in Elgin in June 2021.
Initially set up to target the young people in Moray hardest hit by the pandemic to get access to support and opportunities, the hub now supports residents of all ages, and the number of partners using the hub to meet with clients and deliver training and employability support has grown.
The on-site team, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the local employability partnership, has a youth work coach to provide benefit advice, and project co-ordinators to provide digital support and develop digital skills.
The hub team has also secured 275 digital devices, with 145 households benefitting so far, alongside the delivery of more than 80 digital support sessions.
Moray Council’s Hub Project Officer, Kailie Walsh, said:
“Despite lockdowns, restrictions and challenges along the way, nearly 500 people from across Moray have used a variety of hub provisions to improve their employability.
“A range of partners have delivered over 200 sessions in the Inkwell, from large employer recruitment days to 1:1 sessions for those who are just starting out, or maybe starting again.
Also several marketplaces have been held, showcasing the variety of support our partners can offer, whether that be learning/training, digital, wellbeing or financial.
“What matters each day is that people leave the hub happier than they came in, no matter why they walked through the door.
“This includes the practitioners too – after a tough few years it has been fantastic to start working alongside each other again and welcome new faces.”
A user of the hub, Mr B, said:
“I couldn’t have done all this myself at all.
“I thought at my age I wouldn’t be able to get into work again, but here I am three months later about to start a new job, with no plans to retire at 67!
“From the moment I walked through the door I was helped in a way that was right for me, rather than feeling like ‘just another number’.
“And, of course, there’s usually a good bit of banter!”
The Department for Work and Pensions’ Employability and Partnership Manager, Jane Munro, said:
“We’ve been able use the facility to organise mini job fairs, marketplace partnership events and employer sessions to name a few.
“The Youth Hub has given DWP the opportunity to work closely with all Moray Pathways partners, proving successful with coaches working alongside keyworkers from various different organisations; this has had such a positive effect allowing partners to collaborate and support our customers to move forward towards sustainable employment.”
Clair Ferguson, Chief Officer at the Elgin Youth Development Group said:
“We’re proud to host Moray Pathways at The Inkwell; it has been great to see the wide range of activities taking place over the past year.
“We are particularly impressed with the work that partners are doing to boost the employability of young people in our community.
“We look forward to seeing what the next chapter holds.”