Connecting Copeland’s unemployed

30th October 2017

Around 400 unemployed people in Copeland have been developing IT skills and getting connected to employers thanks to four IT drop-in centres run by the Phoenix Enterprise Centre.

The centre, based in Cleator Moor, received  £40,000 from the NMP Community Fund to help both those out of work and dependent on benefits to get online and develop the skills they need to find a job.

The funding enabled the Phoenix Enterprise Centre to offer free IT sessions in Whitehaven, Millom and Egremont, as well as Cleator Moor to support unemployed people who do not have access to the internet. Experienced advisers offer one-to-one support to help people set up an email account, learn new computer based skills to get them writing CVs, as well as ensuring they register and update their Universal Job match accounts to meet DWP obligations and retain any benefits.

Joanne Crowe, Operations Manager at the centre, sees how the service is invaluable to its users: “Barbara was referred to our IT Centre by the Jobcentre. She hadn’t had a job for nearly 30 years as she’d been a carer for her mother. More recently she also suffered with problems with her vision.

“At her first visit to the IT Centre she was noticeably nervous. She found the prospect of having to use a computer very daunting. With support and encouragement, she became more comfortable using the mouse and searching the internet.

“After surgery on her eye, with her improved vision and new-found confidence, Barbara started to embrace technology. She successfully completed a Basic Computer Level 1 course with Adult Education, and has progressed to an ECDL course.”