Nottinghamshire libraries help unemployed

LibraryBooksLibraries host voluntary workshops for Notts jobseekers to boost confidence, build up their CVs and provide tips on how they can secure a job.

One of the focuses of the workshops is to educate people about the new welfare reforms. They were introduced early last year by the government. Since December 2012, the unemployment rates in Greater Nottingham has seen a 20.1%  fall. However there are still 12,000 people unemployed in Nottinghamshire.

‘It can be quite demotivating’

Nottinghamshire County Council’s Denise Stephenson heads and co-ordinates the area’s Steps 4 Success workshops which are being across the county.

Stephenson develops and delivers confidence building, tailor made workshops aimed specifically at people on job seekers: “We ran similar classes last year, they were very successful… there has been a fair bit of interest this year.” Although the new reforms are proving hard to understand, Steps 4 Success aims to put people into a more positive frame of mind.

“Our focus is on educating people on the government reforms and [we] aim to motivate people and find strength in order for them to move forwards,” Stephenson says. The free courses will run in Mansfield, Kirkby-in-Ashfield and Hucknall libraries and rely on a  booking system.

The government are looking to cover all types of learning styles from supporting people in their IT and Maths skills, to building CVs, boosting confidence and teaching people how to understand the job market.

Stephenson advises to people that “both sessions should be attended in order to get the most out of them.”

“It’s really encouraging”

There are mixed opinions about the courses that the Council is running. Dale Kemp, city centre, says “I’ve tried it before. It never works.” However, Darren Smallwood, Lenton, disagrees. The father of two children has been out of work for four weeks but he believes that these types of courses are important: “It’s a good idea… The job centre makes the unemployed pay for courses.”

Lee Collishaw
Lee Collishaw – previously unemployed

Lee Collishaw was unemployed for two months after the business he was working for went into administration. During that time he signed on and took part in the Steps 4 Success courses at Hucknall library last year. He now has a full time, permanent job in the city centre.


“At first it was scary because there’s such a reputation of people who are unemployed. there are a lot of people who have a bad opinion of it.”

So, what are the changes?

The Claimant Commitment reform outlines what job-seeking actions a claimant must carry out while receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance. The Claimant Commitment is due to be in place across the country by spring this year and brings Jobseeker’s Allowance into line with claimants’ responsibilities under Universal Credit. The reforms include introducing a cap on the amount of benefits working age people can receive.

Nottinghamshire County Council are helping jobseekers understand the new welfare reforms, as well as learning how to secure interviews and get back into employment.

The Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service have stated that channel 4’s controversial show, Benefit Street has had a negative effect not only on their service but on people claiming benefits in Nottingham – read more

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