Ways to Work

Posted 3rd February 2017
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Key Project Information
Project Name: Ways to Work
Lead Organisation: Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
ESF value: £19,123,473
Duration: Jan 2016 – Dec 2018
Contact: Louise Chamley Louise.chamley@merseytravel.gov.uk
Website: to be completed

Project summary

The ‘Ways to Work’ programme is designed to provide a range of services to residents across the Liverpool City Region to enhance their employability skills and to assist them in gaining employment.

Participants will be able to access a range of services including high quality information, advice and guidance, transitional employment opportunities, and skills development.

The project is designed to assist unemployed people, people not in education, employment or training, aged 16 plus providing advice and guidance to individuals about jobs, education and training, including:

  • Help with CV preparation
  • On-going quality Information, Advice and Guidance
  • Mentoring and Coaching
  • Mock Interviews/interview skills
  • Employability skills including confidence building
  • Assistance with on-line recruitment
  • Digital and IT skills training
  • Basic Skills: literacy and numeracy
  • Employer led pre-recruitment leading to guaranteed job interviews
  • Work experience placements
  • Intensive work search
  • Transitional employment placements (ILMs)
  • Access to Employability Fund (e.g. clothing, equipment, licenses, DBS checks; travel costs; personal presentation packs)

There will also be initiatives to specifically support young people leaving care, and other vulnerable groups and people who are out of work with a health condition.


The project is delivered by the 6 Local Authorities across Liverpool City Region, in conjunction with Merseytravel.

Key Outputs / Results

19,529 individuals to be assisted
6,472 individuals into employment, training/education and/or gaining qualifications.

Cllr Ian Maher, the Combined Authority’s Portfolio Lead for Employment and Skills said: “Supporting our residents into training or employment is a priority for us across the City Region and this funding will help us to ensure that they are equipped with the right skills to access employment opportunities. The range of support available will mean there is something for everyone to help them progress into training or work.”


Katie is 23 years old, has recently moved to Knowsley and is in receipt of WRAG ESA. Katie has mental health problems and has the condition Schizoaffective Disorder, (her health problems do not affect her ability to work) Katie had not long been discharged from hospital, had recently moved to the area, she has no family support and was quite vulnerable.

Katie was referred to Ways to Work by her Jobcentre Plus Advisor for support with getting Katie ready to start looking for work in the future. Her Advisor had taken the time to speak to a Ways to Work Advisor and give them background information on her mental health and it was agreed that they would take ‘baby steps’ due to the fact she had just come out of hospital was new to the area and was now on WRAG ESA.

Katie wanted to work with children but did not have any idea how she would do this. She had also never had a job interview, had no CV and did not know how to search for suitable employment. The project helped Katie to develop a current CV, she attended Basic IT course and Confidence and Motivation courses delivered directly through the project.
The Ways to Work Advisor supported Katie by creating her an up to date CV, referring her to suitable employability courses the project ran and finding suitable course for her to attend to gain the correct qualification to work with pre – school aged children. Her Advisor contacted Family Voices (voluntary programme) for details on local volunteer opportunities and Knowsley Family and Community Education (FACE) for details on the current Childcare courses which they were delivering. The Ways to Work Advisor also spoke to the FACE childcare tutor, Yvonne, and explained Katie's health condition, with Katie’s consent, to ensure the course was right for her and that she would receive the support she needed to complete. Yvonne attended one of their one to one guidance sessions for a chat, and she was happy for Katie to attend the course.

Katie enrolled on to L2 Childcare Course in September 2016 and secured a placement in a local playgroup, she is receiving support to complete the course by her tutor. Katie is very excited at the prospect of gaining a qualification and securing her dream job, she was also very grateful that the project helped her to gain basic IT, employability skills, and the confidence to get on in life as she felt nobody was listening and judged her by her mental health issues. Katie’s Ways to Work Advisor still get updates from Yvonne and Katie, and she is doing very well in her placement and is near to completing her course and gaining a qualification. The Ways to Work programme will continue to support Katie and concentrate on searching and applying for suitable employment for Katie as an Early Years/ Classroom Assistant.

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James first had contact with the Children’s Centres when he came in as a young father to seek assistance from the Family Support Team with providing support for his young family. After spending time parenting his young children, James found himself long-term unemployed with few qualifications or skills and almost no work experience. Although he had no regrets about the time spent with his young family, in terms of his working life, he began to feel increasingly isolated and had a sense that he was further and further away from the jobs market. James had always wanted to work with children but he felt that his hopes were unrealistic as his literacy skills were not of a high standard and he was unable to see a way forward with achieving his aspirations. In 2016, whilst attending his local Children’s Centre, his support worker recommended that he sign up for the newly established ESF Ways to Work Programme.

Once recruited to the programme, they arranged for James to be screened for dyslexia. Once he had received a formal diagnosis, James was able to take a number of basic skills courses tailored to his needs. These courses helped James improve his literacy skills and he quickly grew in confidence. He them went on to take a Paediatric First Aid course and complete a short course in food preparation / food hygiene. James also received structured support with completing a new CV and the team also provided coaching in job applications and interview skills. Drawing upon his personal participant costs budget, James was able to buy a suit and new shoes to enable him to look smart and presentable whilst attending interviews.

James grew in confidence and started applying for jobs in early 2017. In February 2017 he quickly got two part time jobs working as a cleaner with the local authority. This enabled James to build up an employment record and it also provided him with references. James recently applied for a third job working as a lunch-time supervisory assistant in a local school for 7 hours per week. The head teacher was so impressed by James’s enthusiasm and commitment that they decided to offer James a better paid position as a Catering Assistant at the school on 25 hours per week. The head teacher commented that they had been especially impressed by him at interview and they felt that he had real potential. Once he had received his third job offer, using his ESF budget, James was also able to buy a bike, a high vis jacket, a helmet and new waterproofs to enable him to travel more efficiently between jobs. James is building up his experience in catering and now has aspirations to become a full time chef. With his three jobs James is now working 39 ½ hours paid employment per week.

James says: “All this has changed my life and I can show my own kids that I go out to work. I will now be able to buy extra things for my kids and hold my head up. I didn’t get a lot of help at school but now I’ve got help on the programme I will be able to listen to my kids read and help with their homework.”

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Craig is a young father of two, with a new addition on the way. Presenting to Way to Work he was suffering anxiety, low mood and anger management issues; this effected Craig’s day to day life resulting in him not being able to leave his house alone, scared of being invited into new situations and causing him to have severe anxiety attacks in public.

Craig wanted to support his family; which was adding to his stress and anxiety levels. After attending weekly appointments with his Ways to Work advisor Craig has been able to open up about his issues, with Ways to Work supplying Craig with stress and anxiety management techniques and self-help guides for Craig’s anger management problems. He is now able to go out for walks with his children and attend family days out.
With the new child adding to Craig’s concerns Ways to Work contacted external charitable organisations and provided the family with a number of baby basic necessitates (Prams, Moses basket, nappies, clothes etc.)

Now being able to focus on Craig’s well-being and helping support with some of his worries, Craig and his advisor are now looking into training courses in English and Maths to improve his employability skills. Craig wants to work in Young people’s support (a future goal Craig never knew he had), him and his advisor have set up a plan and are aiming to gain some volunteer work in the youth service starting in the near future.
Craig has made so much progress since starting the Ways to Work programme and will continue to make progress to support his growing family.

Craig says, “Ways to Work have been a great support network for me, they have helped me with my confidence; which has helped me gain the courage to go out and engage with people. I have started to believe in myself and actually plan out a future.”

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