Housing associations funded to support Islanders into work

By Chris Cornford Jan 20, 2021

Two housing associations with properties on the Isle of Wight, Sovereign Housing Association and Southern Housing Group, have received funding to help give Islanders the skills and confidence they need to succeed as the Island’s economy recovers after Covid-19.

Recognising the impact of the pandemic on employment across the Isle of Wight, the programme, called ‘Skills 4 Work’, which launches this week, is aimed at supporting Islanders to develop job-hunting skills and improve their CV writing and interview techniques. The programme will offer dedicated one-to-one advice, guidance and support from employment and training officers and will also support Islanders with digital skills.

The Skills 4 Work project is being run by the two housing associations in collaboration with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Youth Trust. Backed by £100k funding from the Solent Supporting Employment grant programme, the aim is to help up to 100 Island residents who face complex barriers to employment back into work.
With the number of people without a job on the Island seeing a rise of 43% over the 12 months to November 2020, the launch of Skills 4 Work will provide essential, practical support at a challenging time.

Erica Watts, Sovereign’s Head of Employment and Training, said: “We have a proven track record of providing employment and skills programmes to our residents.
“We’re delighted to be working with Southern Housing Group to help local residents take the next steps to fulfil their career aspirations.”
Matthew McLean, Community Investment Services Manager at Southern Housing Group, added: “Having worked with Sovereign on similar projects in the past, we are pleased to able to work with them again to deliver this focussed and timely project.”
Skills 4 Work will run for 18 months and enrolment starts immediately.

The programme was created by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and part-funded by the European Social Fund (ESF), with generous match funding provided by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation donors, Hampshire County Council, Portsmouth City Council and Southampton City Council.
For further information, email skills4work@sovereign.org.uk or visit my.sovereign.org.uk/articles/general-needs/help-and-advice/skills-4-work.