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Eastbourne & Willingdon Lib Dems

Major New Eastbourne Jobs Initiative Launched

January 21, 2014 5:39 PM

The Herald Managing Editor Keith Ridley met with Eastbourne's MP Stephen Lloyd this week to ask about the latest jobs initiative he's launching:

KR: So Stephen, what's this campaign all about?

SL: It's Called 100x3; New Year, New Beginnings, and it's about going out to our town's businesses and organisations to ask they provide 100 work experiences, for 100 hours, in 100 days.

KR: Similar to your 100 apprentices in 100 days?

SL: Exactly. I am very hopeful Eastbourne and Willingdon will respond in the same fantastic way they did with our apprentice initiative.

KR: Why work experiences?

SL: Because a consequence of all the hard work Eastbourne has done over the last few years to get through the recession so positively, is that our JSA claimant rate is down to only 3.7%

KR: Is that bad?

SL: No, it's brilliant - the lowest it's been since 2008! However it means that many of the people still jobless have been out of work for a long time, and often, when someone is long term unemployed, it becomes very difficult to break the spiral. Confidence is eroded, employers are less keen to take you on and the whole vicious circle begins. All this is also not helped by same sections of the media and politicians who talk about people who are long term unemployed in such a pejorative way.

KR: So you want to approach it differently?

SL: Absolutely. I want us to do it the Eastbourne way - half glass full, but still realistic. So yes, it is about helping people who have been out of work for some time, and I recognise this can be off-putting for employers, which is why the whole structure of our local jobs initiative is around work experience. The reason why we're asking companies and organisations to offer work placements for 100 hours is that will be long enough to really help someone get back into the habit of work, as well as give them an up to date reference on their CV. So rather than labelling people as either lazy scroungers or helpless victims, we are providing a practical step back into work.

KR: This sounds good, but how will you achieve all this? Will it need input from various key agencies around town?

SL: You're absolutely right which is why I've brought together a whole group of partners. The Local JobCentre Plus are coordinating the whole process, supported by Sussex Downs College, a number of local employment companies like Baldwin Traning, Crossland and Dudson, A4E and Scope. Also, Eastbourne Borough Council, the County Council and the well known local charity People Matter are all on board.

KR: What happens now?

SL: I need as many companies as possible to contact my office to say they'd like to take part. We'll send them some info saying how simple the process is, and explaining how it will all work. Then it will be all systems go!

KR: What do you hope will come out of the campaign?

SL: I profoundly believe in how having a job can transform someone's life and equally, how not having one can be so devastating if you are still able to work. But (and for me it's a big but) I detest the way that some people talk about the long-term unemployed. Sure, a few folk game the system and it was ever thus, but the vast majority don't - they have simply got stuck in the spiral, and I want Eastbourne to rally around to help them out of their predicament. After all it's our own community, friends and family who are struggling. This is not pie in the sky and the realist in me recognises that many of the people we want to support back into work have been unemployed for a long time and that it's not easy. Our view though, is that a robust work experience programme really will provide that crucial first step back into employment. The experience must be for 100 hours so it can be properly effective. After that, who knows, but I am pretty sure a lot of people will get into paid employment following this and wouldn't that be just fantastic. Eastbourne doing what it does well - supporting our own community.

KR: Which is why you're calling it Eastbourne 100x3; New Year, New Beginnings

SL: Exactly, and I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank you and the Herald for backing this important initiative for our town.

KR: With pleasure Stephen. And we'll be printing the businesses and organisations who sign up for your 100 x 3 campaign by printing them in a Roll of Honour over the next 100 days. In fact, I know that a lot of preparations have been made in advance and the first list of potential employers is printed in today's paper.

SL: Great. Now; let's all get out there and make a difference.

100x3; New Year, New Beginnings Roll of Honour

Dunelm Mill

Savers

The Kit Wilson Trust

St Wilfred's Hospice Hub

Savoy Court Hotel

B & Q

Furniture Now

Cancer Research Heathfield

South East Refurbishments

Semantics Glass Engraving

Blue Arrow

T J Hughes

Shoe Zone

The Range

Somefing Special

Bespoke Training

Computers for Charities

MTC2

Call Care Direct

British Heart Foundation Hailsham

British Heart Foundation Eastbourne

Eastbourne District Chamber of Commerce

Think you can help? To sign up your business or simply for further queries, please contact Steve Holt at the MPs office on 01323 419 730