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Jolanta at work

Council programme helping people back to work

Hundreds of people are getting their foot on the career ladder thanks to an innovative programme delivered by Staffordshire County Council.

The Open Door programme, which was introduced in 2009, helps prepare people for the world of work by offering them a twelve week work experience placement. Over 1,000 people from across the county have already benefited from the programme so far.

The scheme provides work placements within Council departments and also with external organisations and partners depending on the candidates preferred area of work. During the placement people get valuable work experience which they can put on their CV, a reference from their manager, as well as access to certain training courses. People also get the opportunity to apply for any internally advertised jobs with the Council.

One person to benefit from the scheme is Jolanta Sawko from Stafford. Jolanta did her twelve-week work placement with Staffordshire County Council’s Customer Insight team before securing a full time job as a junior programmer with the ICT team.

Jolanta said:

“I joined the programme after having a career break as I wanted to refresh and update my computer programming skills.

“While on the work placement I got the opportunity to learn about and use lots of new tools and techniques while gaining some valuable experience. My team were also incredibly supportive and always eager to share their knowledge too which was fab.

“When a position came up in the council’s ICT team I was able to apply using the experience and skills gained on my placement. I was delighted when I was offered the job and am now doing a job that I really love. I would definitely encourage people to try out the Open Door programme.”

Philip White, Cabinet Member for Learning and Employability at Staffordshire County Council said:

“Our Open Door project is a wonderful programme that’s helping people who need that extra bit of support to get into their chosen careers.

“It offers people a voluntary work experience placement within a wide variety of job roles and since launching has already helped over 1,000 people, many of whom have gone into paid employment.

“Making sure people have the necessary skills to take advantage of the better quality jobs in the future remains a priority for the county council and it’s schemes like this which will help us do that.”

The programme is available to anyone over 18 but focuses on helping people who face difficulties and barriers in finding work. This could include people with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, children leaving care, school leavers, and graduates.

For further information on the Open Door Staffordshire scheme please contact Vicky Perry on 01785 854486 or email Vicky.Perry@staffordshire.gov.uk.