East End unemployed given jobs boost after lotto backing

UNEMPLOYED people in Glasgow's East End have been given a lotto jobs boost.

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A pioneering initiative, which offers a helping hand to the long term unemployed, is being extended for at least another three years after a £445,570 cash injection.

The Big Lottery Fund Scotland is backing the "Learning Works" programme after the project was launched two years ago by Thenue Housing.

The social landlord which operates in the East End ­began the award-winning ­initiative in 2012 along with Glasgow Kelvin College.

It offers free learning­ ­opportunities to the jobless by providing useful skills which make them more employable.

The range offered includes computer skills, health and well-being, personal development, communications, ­numeracy and literacy.

Some of the people have completed the course and have found work while others have gone on to take further and higher education courses.

One successful applicant was 24-year-old Stephanie McGee, from Bridgeton.

She has held down a range of jobs since leaving school at 16.

She said: "I was made redundant from my last job earlier last year and it's been very difficult since then.

"I didn't want to just go back to another job in a shop. I've always been in and out of work since I left school, but while I dreamed of being able to have a career I couldn't get to that point.

"My self-confidence was low and as a mum of two young children childcare is an issue.

"When I heard about the Learning Works course, I ­really wanted to give it a go, but to begin with even that was a struggle as I needed someone to look after my youngest daughter.

"Eventually with the housing association's help I managed to get a child-minder.

"The course opened my eyes and gave me essential skills. It made me realise I can do anything and after I'd finished I started applying for college.

"I'm now on an access to nursing course and applying for a university course for this year.

"I know this is a job I'll love. I want to prove to ­myself and my daughters that everyone can have a ­career, but I couldn't have even got this far without the support and help of the Learning Works team."

Lawrence McCabe, community regeneration manager at Thenue Housing, said: "We are delighted at the generous funding award from Big Lottery Fund ­Scotland for our Learning Works project.

"It is a great boost to our hard-working team who have helped to make it such a success and will give us a renewed sense of purpose to carry on the good work.

"More than anything it is good news for the people that we will be able to help in the future by enabling us to provide additional opportunities for the long-term unemployed to make positive changes to their lives."

Maureen McGinn who chairs the lotto fund, said the aim was to support "communities in greatest need" and described Thenue initiative as an "excellent example of how our funding is helping change the lives of thousands of people".

gordon.thomson@eveningtimes.co.uk

Careers and Jobs

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