New Deal's New Focus; COVENTRY CHOSEN TO HELP PILOT A NEW NATIONWIDE DRIVE TO GET THE OVER-25s BACK INTO THE JOBS MARKET AND OFF BENEFITS
Williams, Alison, Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Today sees the launch of a new scheme to slash the numbers of long-term unemployed in Coventry.
The New Deal 25 Plus is aimed at getting 2,000 25 to 64-year-olds, who have been out of work for more than 18-months, back into the job market
Coventry has been chosen as one of 30 pilot cities for the nationwide jobs drive which starts today.
The government's New Deal initiative had previously targeted the rising tide of unemployment among under 25s and people out of work for more than two years.
Now it is being rolled out to give other long-term unemployed a leg up, by offering practical help to the jobless and setting up a specialist recruitment agency for firms to advertise vacancies.
More than 1,600 of the city's 8,000 unemployed have been out of work for two years or more. And 800 of those have not worked for five years.
New Deal Plus project manager Louise Proctor said: ``A typical example is perhaps someone who has been made redundant after working for years with the same company.
``They end up with out-of-date work experience and no formal qualifications.''
Workers left redundant after the recent job cuts at Alvis, Agco Massey Ferguson, Courtaulds, Rover and London Taxis International highlight exactly why this scheme is needed in Coventry.
Many job openings are likely to be in warehouse, driving and labouring.
The programme is being driven by the city's economic leaders under the title of the Joint Venture Partnership - the Employment Service, the Chamber of Commerce, the city council and the Quality Careers Service.
Supporter among first to advertise for new worker
One of Coventry's oldest firms has already pledged its support for New Deal 25 Plus and is advertising for an office administrator.
Richard Greenwood, managing director of steel and hardware group Mattersons, has been on the management committee of all New Deal projects in Coventry for the past 18 months.
Now he is throwing his weight behind the latest project to crack long-term joblessness.
Mr Greenwood, guest speaker at the pilot launch, said: ``Someone has left the firm and now we have a vacancy to be filled.
``I firmly believe in giving all people a fair chance.
``It is our policy to give people with disadvantages the opportunity to work, be they disabled people or people who have just had a bad time, been made redundant and never got back into work.
``We are quite prepared to give a little bit of time, effort and money to give the long-term unemployed an opportunity.''
Mattersons, which is based in Kingfield Road, Foleshill, Cov-entry, is to advertise the secretarial post through the specially set- up job agency, Solutions Recruitment, in Corporation Street, Coventry.
Mr Greenwood added: ``I am sure there are plenty of long-term unemployed people in Coventry who will be able to fill this role very well.''
Help goes more than skin-deep
Paying to have unsightly tattoos removed could also come under the New Deal remit. …