Lancashire Adult Learning supports Skelmersdale residents back into work for Christmas period

The Royal Mail in Skelmersdale has been boosted with the addition of new helpers for the busy Christmas period, thanks to the support of Lancashire Adult Learning.

Seventeen of LAL’s learners attending the popular Work Club at Skelmersdale’s Jobcentre Plus have worked under the expert guidance of LAL’s Anita Houghton and Caroline McDonald to progress into temporary employment. The learners will be aiding Royal Mail to sort their huge increase in parcels over the festive period by working in the temporary Skelmersdale site.

Lancashire Adult Learning is also in the process of expanding its presence in the Skelmersdale area to meet a growing need of helping people on the road to return to work, volunteering opportunities or further education.

This includes turning a corner of the centre into a LAL hub, with English and Maths sessions held on a Monday, a Work Club on a Tuesday morning and afternoon, a further Work Club on a Friday morning and ICT sessions on Wednesday afternoons.

Lancashire adult Learning’s Work Clubs are three hour sessions for up to six weeks for those people who are actively seeking a job. Learners receive help and advice with cover letters and application forms, gain advice about relevant training opportunities and courses and application support for the latest jobs locally, nationally and abroad.

Barbara Lewtas, 60, is one of those learners to have secured work after help from LAL and her husband John, 59, will also be joining her in a job at Royal Mail for the festive period.

Barbara said: “The help and support from the Work Club is very good. Anita suggested I sit an exam to help boost my skills on my CV, and even though I was scared and nervous, I did it, and I am over the moon as I passed with a high mark. The Royal Mail application was a long and complicated one and Caroline had lots of patience, sitting with us to help with it.

“Caroline has also really helped my husband build his confidence and John is now working voluntary in the British Heart Foundation shop too. John was not confident enough to take a full time role but Caroline encouraged him to apply part time. Now we both have temporary jobs and extra money for Christmas and we’re extremely grateful.”

Clifford Scoggins, 60, said: “I enjoy coming to the Work Club – I have learned so many new things and it’s really good for getting people back into work. I could not switch on a computer before I joined but now I’m absolutely made up that LAL has helped me apply for and get a role at Royal Mail. After Royal Mail, Caroline is going to put me forward for a position at a care home which is really promising.”

And Carl Robinson, 49, added: “I’ve been coming to the Work Club since July and I’ve really improved my inter-personal skills and my approach towards getting back into work.

“Previously I was applying for jobs and not getting anything, but Caroline at Lancashire Adult Learning is a great motivator. She really encourages you and supports you, giving you the belief that you can do it and you can better yourself.”

Lancashire Adult Learning runs a number of Work Clubs across Lancashire in locations from Chorley to Colne, Lancaster to Leyland, Ormskirk to Preston, and Burnley to St Annes.

Nicola Hall, Head of Adult Community Learning at Lancashire Adult Learning, said: “We’ve worked extremely hard in the Skelmersdale area with learners on a weekly basis to develop their skills in applying for jobs and on preparation for interview, but we’ve also spent a lot of time working to improve their self-belief that they can gain employment or volunteering opportunities.

“I take great pleasure in seeing adult learners across Lancashire who have previously struggled to find work then get that job, and that often then gives them the confidence boost to go on and gain further employment in the future.

“Helping our learners secure work with the Royal Mail in the run-up to Christmas has been a real success story, working alongside our much-valued partner in Jobcentre Plus, and we look forward to continuing this positive working relationship.”

Daniel Ditchfield, Jobcentre Customer Service Manager, said: “The working relationship we’ve built up over the past several months with Lancashire Adult Learning has resulted in some real positive outcomes for our mutual customers.

“From people with low illiteracy skills learning to read their first words, to people gaining paid employment for the first time in a number of years, the collaborative working between Skelmersdale Jobcentre and Lancashire Adult Learning has and will continue to make a positive change to people’s lives.

“It has been recognised by other Jobcentres across Cumbria and Lancashire as an exemplar way of joint working and is something that other Jobcentres are keen to replicate with Lancashire Adult Learning in their respective areas.”

In February, Lancashire Adult Learning was named as the national Adult and Community Learning Provider of the Year winner at the Tes FE Awards.

As well as its targeted delivery and partnership work, Lancashire Adult Learning offers a huge range of planned provision across the Red Rose County, from Arts and Crafts to Humanities classes, Languages to Health and Wellbeing sessions and Functional Skills English and Maths and Employability courses.

For more information about LAL, contact 0333 003 1717 or visit www.lal.ac.uk

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