Gloucestershire News

GEM of a scheme celebrates 1st birthday - and helps 100-plus find work

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Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 06 November 2017 6:33

GEM of a scheme celebrates 1st birthday - and helps 100-plus find work

A GEM of a project aimed at getting those facing difficulties entering the job market is very much working itself – revealing it has helped more than 100 people into employment.

Going the Extra Mile (GEM) blew out the metaphorical candles to mark its first birthday with a full house at Cheltenham’s Pittville Pump Rooms.

Businesses, dignitaries, guests, partners and those on the programme and who have benefited from it plus family and friends filled the hall.

“We set out with an aim to support more than 1,000 people over a three year period into or closer to employment. It is to help individuals who are further from the labour market and facing multiple barriers. I prefer to say these people just need that extra bit of support,” said Jason Dunsford, head of employment and skills at the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, which runs the project for and with Gloucestershire County Council.

“It has been a challenge – not least with paperwork – but we are ahead of target already.”

Cllr Roger Wilson and Mark Gale of the Gloucestershire Gateway Trust

Mark Gale, from the Gateway Trust, also addressed the audience with Roger Wilson, cabinet member for the GEM Project at the county council.

“We should be celebrating the success we have had in the first 12 months in creating a fantastic partnership,” said Mr Gale.

“GEM is a partnership of all the sectors – volunteering, community, social, public and private business, all working to get people closer to work and back into employment.

“Gloucestershire has so much to be proud of.”

The scheme supported 20 with self-employment or start-up businesses, delivered 110 practice interviews, placed 150 on volunteering or work experience, helped 108 people into job searching, 173 into further education or training, 58 people to gain qualifications, and 108 into employment.

"That figure has actually risen since and we it is still rising," said Mr Dunsford.

Steve Barnett, joint managing director of Glevum Security, a winner of the corporate social responsibility honour at this year’s Gloucestershire Business Awards, was at the event to receive another honour for its hard work.

The firm is also shortlisted in the forthcoming Believe in Gloucester Awards.

“As a company it has been good to be involved and assist people where we can. When you have the right candidate you can really make a difference – for both sides,” said Mr Barnett.

“There are people out there who already have the abilities, they just need a little bit of guidance. It has been a good learning curve for us too. It has been a win-win.”

Stuart Tidmarsh, 44, of Cheltenham, who has been on the programme and working with Glevum Security, said: I am really grateful to GEM for giving me the chance. It has given me back some sense of self-worth, reminded me of the skills I have and shown me I have some I didn’t even know about.”

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