One stop employability shop

A One Stop Employability Shop located in Aberdeen city centre looks to be established by the City Council in conjunction with Instant Neighbour after the proposal was agreed at committee today.

Members of the communities, housing and infrastructure committee unanimously agreed the recommendations of a report for the council and the charity to work together to progress the venue where the public can access support, information, and training relating to employment.

The report to committee said there were several reasons for the idea behind creating the One Stop Employability Shop. These include the economic driver, as the downturn in the oil and gas sector has seen an increase in the number of people actively seeking work across all industry sectors, with the recently-made redundant being more ‘employment ready’ which will see many lower skilled people in the city become even further removed from job opportunities.

Another reason is current neighbourhood audits are identifying that many people have multiple barriers preventing them from fully engaging and benefiting from a positive lifestyle, and are unable to co-ordinate appointments with multiple agencies and therefore fail to receive the required support.

A further reason found that market testing has identified a need for a more coordinated approach to service delivery, information sharing and maintenance and securing a city centre location would improve communication of services to target beneficiary groups.

The report said there would be increased employment opportunities through the delivery of the City Centre Masterplan and City Region Deal. Further employment opportunities could also be created through Community Benefit clauses where additional requests are placed on developers to ring-fence entry level jobs and training opportunities, and these opportunities could be promoted through the One Stop Employability Shop. The branding of this shop would remove the stigma perceived by many when entering DWP premises and hopefully increase the number of applications received by employers.

The report said the One Stop Employability Shop will lead to increased promotion and uptake of training initiatives including the ESF employability pipeline project and Employability Fund. It would also provide access to IT equipment and support to enable those without IT equipment or broadband.

The report added co-location with other training and support agencies will lower operating costs, increase breadth of knowledge and promote best practice working, and shared resources and staffing of reception facility will also reduce overheads.

Co-location with Instant Neighbour will bring other benefits as people visiting the retail facility that may not have engaged with support services will be made aware of the wider range of support services available within the building and can be discretely referred, the report to committee said.

In addition, there is currently a shortage of appropriate accommodation for some team members within the adult education service, the establishment of the One Stop Employability Shop would address this issue and also allow members of the team to deliver services directly from the city centre.

The report said potential premises on Union Street for have been identified for the One Stop Employability Shop, which has good footfall, is accessible and close to all public transport connections and has high visibility. The property is spread across two floors meaning that the floor space can be suitably divided between retail and employability provision space

The property will be upgraded with new security doors and systems, toilets and kitchen installed, and has ramp access to the main floor and lift access to the sub ground floor. The landlord is also willing to enter into a long term agreement at a discounted rate, the report said.