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Employment fair opens up Westgate opportunities

A group of long term unemployed Oxfordshire residents attended a job fair to learn more about upcoming job opportunities in the Westgate development. 
The visit to the job fair was part of the 'Removing barriers, rebuilding lives' project, part of the Building better opportunities programme. The programme, funded by the European Social Fund and the Big Lottery Fund, helps long term unemployed Oxfordshire residents gain the confidence and skills to return to work.  
Activate Learning is working with a number of partner organisations to deliver this programme, transforming the lives of participants, including: 
  • the unemployed and economically inactive
  • people aged 50+
  • ethnic minorities
  • people with disabilities
  • people living in rural communities
Prior to their visit, participants completed a five-day customer service skills course, run with project partners Land Securities and Job Centre Plus. This course helped prepare them to make the most of the job opportunities available. Nearly 50 participants completed this course, with a further eight courses scheduled to run later this year. 
Project participant Sharron Shakespeare said: ‘Working with Activate Learning on the Building better opportunities programme has really helped me. I have completed a Care training course and I am now volunteering at the NHS, with a view to starting work in September as a nursing assistant. I am also getting support from my Building better opportunities coach in applying and preparing for the retail roles at the Westgate centre. I am confident I will be back in work soon.’ 
Building better opportunities gives participants access to a comprehensive package of support, including: one to one mentoring and guidance with a team of expert coaches to help boost their interview skills, and access to volunteering, training and job opportunities available through our project partners.   
More than 3,000 jobs will be created as part of the new Westgate Centre redevelopment.