On course to get young folk back into work ...

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From CV writing to attending interviews, it can be daunting for young folk to go through the process of getting a job. A Kirkcaldy-based course aims to brush up their core skills ...

Young unemployed people in Kirkcaldy are being offered help to get back into the workplace.

Naomi Sheperd, Mark Downie and Brenda Sivakova on the latest course. Pic: FPA

Naomi Sheperd, Mark Downie and Brenda Sivakova on the latest course. Pic: FPA

A 12-week employability course is aimed at young people aged between 16 and 25 and the next session starts on March 3.

It is run by SmartLiving - part of LinkLiving Ltd - and is based at West Bridge Mill.

There is also a weekly drop-in, called Link to Work at the same same venue every Wednesday from 10.00 a.m. to 2.00 p.m. to offer support to jobseekers of any age.

People can get help with their CVs, job applications or any other issues and a staff member is always on hand to provide support.

Last week in a special report the Press revealed that the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) in Kirkcaldy had fallen by 23 per cent between December 2013 and December 2014.

Figures have also shown that the number of young people aged 18-24 claiming JSA in the town fell by 24 per cent.

This week we visited West Bridge Mill to speak to one of the senior volunteer workers running the employability course, to meet the young people involved and to find out what support it provides.

Nicky Paton (pictured) said: “We offer the SmartLiving employability course for 16-25 year olds on Thursdays and Fridays. We can accommodate 12 people.

“We start in the training room looking at employability skills such as preparing CVs, building confidence, interview skills and completing job application forms.

“In later weeks the young people take part in a three-week work placement, which we encourage them to arrange themselves.

‘‘We are always there to help though if they are unable to organise their own placement.

“The work experience gives them a chance to update their CVs and in some cases we have found it can lead to a job.

‘‘In the final week, at the end of the course, they give a presentation to show what they have learned.”

The course works with other agencies including job centres which can refer people to the course and it is also SQA-accredited so young people can show prospective employers the skills they have acquired. It demonstrates their continued learning and development which can be added to their CV.

Course participants can also access a website called Ask Joe - ‘jobs, opportunities and employability’ - which was created by young people, supported by Link Living with help from charitable group Fixers UK.

It helps young people on the path to employment by offering guidance on interview, job search and CV tips.

The SmartLiving course has been running in Kirkcaldy for the past two years. It is also run in Falkirk.

Nicky explained: “We started out working with young homeless people, providing opportunities for them to train as peer educators so they could then inform others about the issues affecting homeless people.

“This work is still ongoing, but what we found is that we were doing more and more work in employability so we decided from that we would create the 12-week course, which offers help to young unemployed people.

“We have had really positive feedback from those who have taken part with participants saying their confidence has increased as well as learning new skills.

‘‘We usually have a meal at the end of the course and present them with a certificate.”

Irene Blackburn, volunteer services manager, added: “Seeing the young people progress is what keeps us doing this.

“It’s not just about getting the young people into paid employment - they can also use the skills they gain to access further education, or even just to improve their confidence.

‘‘It gives them a good foundation to move onto the next level.”

To take part in the next 12-week course visit www.linkliving.org.uk/volunteer-projects/smartliving or telephone (01592) 644048.