Perth programme helps unemployed into work

Eight candidates cook up a storm as part of ‘hugely successful’ course

An employability programme aimed at helping unemployed people back into work, develop their confidence, and learn about healthy eating was launched in Tayside Monday, October 31.

Eight candidates from Perthshire will took part in Elevator’s fourth Cook to the Future scheme, which is organised in partnership with the Department of Work and Pensions and Perth College UHI and which will gave those taking part the opportunity to study for a REHIS Food Hygiene certificate, and an ASDAN FoodWise Qualification.

Cook to the Future is a four-week course combining practical cookery sessions, focussing on healthy and affordable one-pot meals, and sessions on how to make healthy choices when in the supermarket, as well as giving the students a recognisable qualification to add to their CV.

In addition to developing the programme with Perth College UHI and the DWP, Elevator provided the employability sessions for the programme. These included a focus on writing CVs, interview techniques, cover letters, identifying existing skills, the importance of volunteering and introductions to recruitment agencies.

Candidates were referred to Elevator Project Manager Lynne Martin by Job Centre Plus, who held informal information sessions for interested candidates to meet each other and Elevator staff before the programme began.

Lynne said: “Elevator is committed to helping people overcome barriers and get back into the workplace, and Cook to the Future is a great example of how we engage with communities and local partners by developing and managing programmes which achieve social inclusion for those most in need of support.

“Bespoke employability training also ensures that individual action plans are adhered to and participants receive one to one support when it comes to speaking with employers on the phone, making speculative approaches, and any issues that the individual participants face in their search for work.

“The programme has been hugely successful – the combination of attending college, achieving qualifications, and bespoke employability advice generates a huge increase in the students’ confidence in their abilities to make healthy choices for themselves and their children, and in their work prospects.”

Former candidates have spoken about the positive effects of the course, including boosting their confidence and helping them with future job applications.

Simon Graham, who attended last year’s course, said: “The best part about the programme was interacting with a group of people with similar situations as myself. Our group had a great cross section of ages and experience. Being unemployed, attending the course got me back into a routine, and doing paperwork, reading, analysing and reporting.”