As the region prepares to get back to work, Sheffield training specialist The Source is opening up to help businesses bounce back and support people the pandemic left jobless.
Since 2003 the Skills Academy, a not-for-profit charity, has upskilled thousands of local people, helping many into work and others to boost their careers.
It continued serving the community throughout the pandemic, focusing initially on online training to boost the skills and morale of furloughed workers at over 70 Sheffield City Region SMEs.
Vital face-to-face training for First Aiders was resumed as soon as possible and The Source is now working hard to fully re-open its base on Meadowhall Way by June 21, if government easing of restrictions goes as predicted.
“In this fragile economic climate, we are needed more than ever by businesses and unemployed people alike. We have a raft of help to get the region back to work,” said Tricia Smith, CEO of The Source.
Local companies who have had to make job cuts are being helped to fill gaps in their workforces by taking on recruits through the government’s six-month paid work placement scheme Kickstart, and via apprenticeships.
The Source is also helping companies to access training to boost the skills of existing employees taking on extra responsibilities, or returning after a long period on furlough.
To help combat the region’s rising unemployment, a community learning zone has opened on the ground floor so jobless people of all abilities can access support and boost their confidence and job prospects.
The space was previously a gym forced to close during lockdown.
Its Community and Employability team is already on site and giving support and training to people made redundant in the pandemic.
“We exist to help people of any age, but we are also acutely aware that the prospects of the young have been badly hit,” said Tricia Smith.
“Those whose qualifications and confidence have suffered can take up our traineeships, Apprenticeships or Kickstart Placements, which will help them improve in key subjects and gain a deeper understanding about the world or work.
“Already this year our trainees have gone on to gain jobs. Others now have apprenticeships, which we urge companies to remember the huge value of. We will help them access up to £4,000 cash support from the government per recruit when linking to Apprenticeships.”
On April 12, when education and training in England was given the green light by the government, The Source opened up more facilities with safety measures including socially-distanced learning and training spaces, COVID-19 lateral testing capacity, one-way systems and mandatory mask-wearing.
Parts of the building can also be rented on short or long-term agreements, a scheme to assist new start-ups and businesses who have had to give up larger premises.