Charity awarded neighbourhood audits contract

An Aberdeen charity is to carry out audits in five city regeneration areas as part of a project aimed at helping prepare people for work.

Middlefield, Torry, Woodside, Seaton, and Tillydrone residents will be visited by Pathways Services as interviewers seek to speak to people about the Progress Through Positive Partnerships project and how it could benefit them. Up to 200 homes in each area will be visited.

Part-funded by the European Structural Fund (ESF), the project, which forms part of the City Centre Masterplan, is designed to provide participants with support and tailored assistance to develop employment and vocational skills.

The audits will help to identify people who may be eligible to take part in the project, as well as to build a clear picture of issues affecting the regeneration areas. As well as going door-to-door, the interviewers will visit community centres, housing and rent offices, libraries, and other community facilities to try to ensure everyone who meets the criteria has a chance to get involved.

Individual neighbourhood reports will be compiled using the information gathered during the audits, highlighting particular issues, strengths and weaknesses in each area. An overall report will compare these results, identifying similarities and clear differences between the regeneration areas.

Progress Through Positive Partnerships will see Aberdeen City Council work in partnership with a range of training and development organisations, including charities, to provide increased employability services and positive outcomes across the city.

The project will specifically target Middlefield, Torry, Woodside, Seaton and Tillydrone, where increased levels of support will be offered, providing additional opportunities to help those people with multiple barriers to move closer to the labour market by enabling them to develop relevant skills based on their individual needs and abilities.

Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “Working in partnership with local training suppliers we are investing in local people, creating opportunities that will allow citizens to reach their full potential.

“Aberdeen is entering an exciting new chapter; not only do we have high ambitious for the region with the largest transformational programme the city has ever seen, we also have high ambitions for our residents. Engaging with residents will ensure that they join us on this journey as we provide personalised support and the necessary skills to enter in to the workplace, or voluntary positions.

“Furthermore we will identify issues within the regeneration areas and can work together to make Aberdeen an exciting place to live, visit and do business.”

Pathways Services manager Malcolm Pritchard said: “Pathways is delighted to be awarded the contract to carry out skills audits on behalf of Aberdeen City Council in each of the next two years. As an organisation which is committed to helping people of Aberdeen inform the funders of the types or service they feel can best help them to find work. We look forward to working with the Council to identify the services which people in communities want to see in place.”

As well as the geographic areas, the project will also focus on specific groups, including: unemployed; those in low-paid employment; clients in recovery; women returners; care leavers; those for whom English is not their first language; ethnic minorities; people facing other disadvantages, including those with long term health issues, disabilities, alcohol or drug misuse issues; ex-offenders; and care leavers. Workers in the retail, care, security and service sectors employed on zero hours contracts or who are underemployed and who wish to secure additional hours or more stable, less precarious employment, will also be targeted.

Progress Through Positive Partnerships will establish and develop a strategic employability pipeline. It will improve the co-ordination of service provision and ensure that those in need of it receive local support tailored specifically to address their individual needs.

The ESF is contributing £880,000 (40%) of the project funding.