The future is bright, especially when it comes to education, training and sustainable employment opportunities and support in the Liverpool City Region.
New Horizons is a new and innovative programme that draws together the expertise of twelve specialist local providers, along with managing partner, The Women’s Organisation, to support individuals from across Liverpool City Region into education, training, or sustained employment. Part funded by European Social Fund, New Horizons offers specialist support to those who experience specific and multiple barriers accessing job search, training and education opportunities that enable them to compete effectively in the employment market.
New Horizons Project Manager Hannah Lewis reflects on how the project has responded to the changing landscape during the COVID 19 crisis and caught up with partners to look at how they are continuing to keep their services sustainable despite the ongoing challenges.
“In the programmes’ inaugural three-month period, the partnership has been working together to get everything set up ready to deliver services to those seeking support. The impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions has inevitably limited the amount of time partners and clients could work face-to-face, however, the partnership worked quickly to support clients virtually and these measure have been updated to allow for consistent support.
“Some organisations were able to proactively take steps to ensure they could open in a COVID-secure manner as soon as it was safe, and so through the combination of services that have quickly been made pandemic proof, we are delighted to report that we are off to a positive start to the programme. Already local people are benefiting from the specialist support on offer and that is what we were keen to ensure we could deliver.”
This is how our partners pivoted their services to ensure New Horizon’s is a sustainable project going forward, despite the current set of restrictions?
- Opening with COVID- secure measures in place as soon as it was safe to do so.
Mike Unsworth from St Helen’s Chamber commented “We have three sites in St Helens, and all three opened as soon as we could. We planned to register as many people as possible in person… around 29 or 30 people in the month of March. We are trying to ramp up delivery as much as possible.”
- Recognising the value of consistent contact and positive tone
Stephen Rochford at Citizen’s Advice Knowsley said “We recognise the value of sustaining that contact. We have used Teams to have candid, positive conversations with volunteers – we keep that positive tone and sustain contact.”
- Addressing practical IT issues as a major barrier to finding work
Kelly Brumfitt at Innovative Alliance comments “In terms of sustainability, the IT access is a massive thing. We have got a bank of laptops that we have made available to all New Horizons’ learners. It was a priority to make them immediately available. We are also getting dongles as well!”
- Seeing the value in Outreach work
Ian Davies at Wirral Chamber shared “We are keen on outreach work. Some of the most common barriers we are seeing is clients getting to our location… We are looking to go out to community centres, do demonstrations and sessions in their location and break down that barrier.”
- Adopting a city-wide approach
Joe at MEH highlighted “We are trying to look around the city region in general – if this programme is successful and is happening all over the city region, there is more likelihood of everyone seeing the benefit and the impact may be more sustainable as a result.”
To find out more about New Horizon’s visit our project webpage