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The Lounge hailed a success as 35 job seekers secure work

The Lounge hailed a success as 35 job seekers secure work

An innovative scheme aimed at helping unemployed job seekers from Stoke-On-Trent get back into work has been hailed a huge success after 35 people secured employment.

The Lounge was set up by employment and training experts Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG) at its base in Burslem as a unique way of helping people find work.

The Lounge has been wound up as the Flexible New Deal (FND) Government-funded employment initiative has come to an end in Staffordshire. But it has left a lasting legacy as 35 job seekers who faced the nightmare of unemployment found work in just the six months that it was in operation.

The idea came about through a brainstorming session with PPDG staff. An informal area was set up where small groups of PPDG customers could attend and be introduced to potential employers by the employer liaison team.

Staff decided on a professional area where PPDG clients were able to feel extra special. The name was decided on based on the theory of a departure lounge as customers visiting it would soon depart PPDG into sustainable employment. One PPDG client who found work after visiting The Lounge was 31-year-old Barrie Sayers.

He had been unemployed for just over a year when he was referred to PPDG in February. Within seven weeks and just several visits to The Lounge he secured a job at Mitie Lighting Limited in Eccleshall as an electrical retail assistant.

He said: “The Lounge was fantastic. It helped to motivate me and gave me that little extra support that I needed. I used it several few times and managed to secure a job. The informal atmosphere helped to make you feel relaxed and more confident.”

Kerry Berry, PPDG site manager at Moorland Road, Burslem, added: “The Lounge was a tremendous success as 100 PPDG clients used the facilities with 35 of these securing work through the initiative. The Lounge resulted in an increase of sustainable job outcomes from effective pre-screening, job matching and preparation for work.

“The customers could discuss and apply for PPDG vacancies and employer liaison staff could get to know the customers. They were then able to market them to employers. The Lounge just gave that bit of extra support needed for PPDG customers by dedicated experienced staff with expertise and great knowledge of supporting local people back into employment. It has come to an end now but it really was a great success.”

PPDG’s team of employment experts provides advice on benefits, confidence building, one-to-one support, CV and interview preparation as well as finding the right job or training course under the Work Programme. In partnership with DWP, the Ministry of Justice and Jobcentre Plus, PPDG delivers a diverse range of employment and training initiatives including many financed by the European Social Fund. PPDG came fourth in The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2011.


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