Tower Hamlets Council launches WorkPath
07 April 2017
Posted by: Heather Ette
Tower Hamlets Council launches WorkPath – an innovative jobs scheme with a bold ambition to secure 1,000 jobs for residents in its first 12 months
WorkPath is a brand new partnership employment programme with the bold ambition to give every Tower Hamlets resident the targeted support and skills to find a good job.
WorkPath will harness the huge economic activity in East London, and ensure that every resident can find their own path into sustainable employment.
In the first year alone WorkPath will support 1000 hardest to reach residents with multiple employment barriers into work.
It will also support an additional 4000 residents to make significant steps towards a long term job, through a range of courses to increase their skill and qualifications.
WorkPath is a new integrated employment service, joining up bespoke, expert support, training, mentoring and coaching. It provides a personalised support service for residents; those lacking the skills to return to work, and those who have never worked.
There are often many complex reasons and barriers which hold people back including low written and language skills, a disability or a long-term health condition, addiction problems, carer responsibilities and lack of childcare.
WorkPath understands that there are no “quick fixes” to many of these barriers, so residents will be given ongoing support for the time it takes for them to reach the jobs market.
By partnering with employers across the borough, WorkPath will open up access to thousands of jobs for residents, plus help local businesses to thrive with the supply of a fully skilled and motivated workforce.
Partnership is the key to WorkPath’s success and itself works on the basis that everyone across the whole borough including training and skills providers, Job Centre Plus, employers of all sizes, developers, housing associations, Idea Stores, libraries, Children’s Centres, local charities and voluntary organisations share the council’s goal of supporting all residents into work.
200 key representatives from these partnership groups joined the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs and Councillor Joshua Peck, cabinet member for Work and Economic Growth at a special launch event taking place at the Museum of London, Docklands on April 6.
WorkPath partners will also sign a formal Memorandum of Understanding committing each organisation to the ideal of employment for all.
Cllr Joshua Peck, Tower Hamlets cabinet member for Work and Economic Growth said:
“Tower Hamlets has been the engine of the UK’s economic growth for hundreds of years, from the days when the wealth of Empire flowed through our docks to today’s wealth flowing through Canary Wharf. But this economic power has passed by many of our residents, leaving them on the economic side lines.
“With the launch of WorkPath, we’re determined to do what has never been done before, and fuse together the potential of every one of our residents with the huge economic activity right here in our borough. With practical support, mentoring and training to break down the barriers to work – whether that’s inter-generational worklessness, lack of childcare, low functional skills or poor mental or physical health – we will equip our residents with the skills and confidence to move into work and stay there. WorkPath is a major commitment to transforming lives in Tower Hamlets.”
Tower Hamlets remains a borough of economic extremes. It is experiencing great levels of regeneration, new housing and transport growth, and includes the thriving Canary Wharf world-famous finance hub.
At the other extreme it includes some of the most deprived communities in the whole of the country, where families have experienced generations of worklessness, serious health inequalities and long term dependency on welfare.
More people of working age are in employment locally but certain sections of the community including young people, BME communities, women and people with disabilities and long term health issues continue to face extra barriers to finding jobs.
Following his election as Mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2015, John Biggs has set out a set of four key priorities including ensuring that all residents share in the borough’s growth and can access the job market.
The Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs added:
“Creating greater prosperity is one of my main priorities as Mayor. A record high percentage (72%) of working-age residents are in employment, the borough has also seen major improvements in educational attainment and we are well placed to benefit from future regeneration and economic growth.
“However, despite these positive steps I’m well aware that for far too many residents the very idea of getting into work seems like a world away from what is possible for them.
“That’s why WorkPath needs to be about more than what the council can offer on its own. We already have great working relationships with organisations of all sizes and types across the borough, working directly with residents wherever they are. It’s crucial that we all tap into this opportunity and open up the opportunity for all households to benefit from the opportunity to support themselves and their families.”
IEP Chairman Scott Parkin said:
"The IEP is proud to partner with WorkPath to help support those people who support others gain work, progress in work and retain work. We will be assisting them to develop their staff to develop this excellent initiative."
The WorkPath launch includes a major borough-wide publicity campaign featuring photographs and case studies of local residents who have themselves received support to breakdown their employment barriers, and are now either in work, or well on the way via a training scheme or job placement.
A number of residents have already benefited from early WorkPath related pilot projects, and have spoken their experiences:
Ayesha, Teaching Assistant:
“This is my first ever job and WorkPath gave me the training, support and confidence to do it. Every day I get to help children to have the best possible start in life, it gives life so much meaning and purpose.”
“When my child started school, I began looking for work but lacked the confidence applying for roles. WorkPath gave me the one-to-one support and the skills I needed. I feel positive about my future.”
Nhung, Apprentice Business Administration:
“My advisor helped boost my confidence and has secured me an opportunity that I will remember for a lifetime. My plan is to finish my Apprenticeship and get an exciting business role.”
Weini, Healthcare Assistant:
“WorkPath has helped me so much, I am now supporting the community helping health visitors in the borough. I am so grateful for their help.”
Rebecca, Administration Officer:
“I started as an apprentice and now work helping the next generation of apprentices. My disability used to be an issue, but I’ve been so pleased with the extra support I’ve had along the way to do a job that I love.”
“Being out of work is a hopeless feeling. But then I met a team that supported me every step of the way, from applying for jobs to nailing the interview. I now feel confident about my future.”
Mandy, Hospital Support worker:
“I am getting great work experience taking bloods from patients. My mentor supports me when I need it. WorkPath can turn your life around”
Salman, Apprentice Environment Serviceman:
“Job hunting can feel so frustrating on your own. But all it takes is a little help and the results can change your life.”
Examples of some of the campaign posters are below:
From 6 April, residents can contact WorkPath via the telephone number on 020 7364 0626, email email@example.com or visit the WorkPath website at www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/workpath
Electronic WorkPath registrations forms will be available online (from April 6) so the employment teams can start to gather all the information needed to support local people on the road to new training and employment.
The WorkPath team will be publicising a major outreach programme across the borough, reaching residents where they are, including at Children’s Centres, housing offices, council buildings and libraries, public events, community locations and shopping areas.