Wakefield Council’s STEP UP employment programme supports 400 people in to work

Wakefield Council’s successful STEP UP employment programme has supported almost 400 residents in to work since its launch two years ago and has been busy helping people and businesses throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Many people from across the district have sadly found themselves out of work recently as businesses have struggled during the national lockdowns. This has affected lots of different industries and sectors and some people have lost jobs they have had for many years.

Darren Byford smiling
Cllr Darren Byford

Cllr Darren Byford, Wakefield Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Regeneration, said: “We know that many of our residents have seen their jobs impacted by the pandemic, but we are here to help those who have lost their jobs, and to help people already in work to progress.

“It doesn’t matter what industry you want to work in or what skills you have, we can help people to explore different vacancies and training opportunities to help them succeed and progress.”

Ian had successfully worked in the finance sector for over 30 years but found himself being made redundant from his last position of 20 years due to Covid-19. He contacted STEP UP for assistance, as he was getting final interviews but falling at the last hurdle and to make things worse, his CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) certification was coming to an end, without which he wouldn’t be able to use his qualification to apply for roles.  

Ian said: “It was a shock and complete surprise, our business was better than most, still very busy, but in these unprecedented Covid-19 times many business market projections had poor sales forecasts for mid-2020 and it forced many businesses to make emergency one-off cuts, based on those expected downturns.

“So then began a nine month period of treating ‘back to work’ as my new daily job, which included registering to be on the STEP UP programme.

“I initially believed it to be another local authority network, which would just promote charities and celebrate local business success, but I soon learnt that this wasn’t the case. Two excellent and experienced STEP UP employment advisors suggested steps to make new connections, helped in finding jobs adverts early, provided monthly telephone catch ups and assisted in essential application expenses. Their input pre and post application was supportive, never a burden, suggested local employers with roles not advertised, and provided an in-depth understanding of application processes.”

Through STEP UP’s Barrier Breaker, the team were able to secure funds to pay for his CIMA certification renewal. They also helped Ian to review his online presence using LinkedIn, build his network and recommend sites such as CV library to promote his CV.

He received a call from a steel manufacturing company based in Rotherham, which manufactures high quality, high-rise balconies, staircases and metal cladding. The CEO had seen Ian’s CV and wanted to meet him to discuss how he could help drive his business forward. The CEO was impressed with what Ian could bring to the company and offered him the job of Financial Controller.

Ian continued: “I would therefore now like to sincerely thank the STEP UP team for their ongoing support in these unprecedented Covid-19 times after securing a promising new Financial Controller role, with Chris Hadfield and his company Architectural Fabrications Limited company, based in central Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and wish everyone looking for their next role every success using STEP UP Wakefield.”

The STEP UP team support residents to access job opportunities, qualifications, change jobs and progress within their careers. It helps businesses with recruitment and is making a critical contribution to the district-wide recovery effort from the pandemic.

The team also provide support to access training. It helps residents, regardless of their past experience and qualifications, to improve their future job prospects and employers to secure the skilled workforce they need for future growth and sustainability.

Visit the website at http://www.stepupwakefield.com/ or for more information and to make an appointment with a member of the team, call 01924 303334 or email stepup@wakefield.gov.uk