Service offers support for town’s unemployed in gaining skills

Carla Hawkins, team manager at Southdown, with Kieran Casey
Carla Hawkins, team manager at Southdown, with Kieran Casey

AN organisation in 1066 Country is helping unemployed young people in Hastings gain the valuable skills and experience they need for paid employment.

Southdown, a specialist provider of support and housing services to vulnerable people, has been working with the Jobcentre Plus in Hastings to offer work experience placements.

Carla Hawkins, team manager at Southdown, said: “At the start of each placement we make sure we discuss with the individual what they want to get out of it, and put together a six-week plan making sure they are able to achieve this.
“For those who lack experience, the chance to undertake real work and adjust to the routines and habits of working life can significantly improve their employment prospects.”

The scheme has been so successful that recent graduate, Kieran Casey, gained the confidence to successfully apply for a permanent position at Southdown after completing a placement. Kieran is autistic and sometimes found university a struggle. He felt that he needed to gain experience of a real working environment allowing him to develop his confidence and to tackle the social barriers he was presented with. 
Chris Pelling, employer adviser at Hastings Jobcentre Plus, said: “The work experience scheme, which is aimed primarily at unemployed young people aged 18-24, can sometimes be very challenging for employer hosts. Southdown has gone the extra mile to provide a valuable placement opportunity in a supportive environment. I am delighted that has directly resulted in Kieran, gaining employment.”