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Greater Manchester’s hidden unemployed helped back to work

Motiv8, a Greater Manchester programme, aims to identify the 'hidden unemployed' and work with them to overcome their barriers

Thousands of people being dubbed Greater Manchester’s ‘hidden unemployed’ are getting help to get back to work, thanks to a programme supporting those furthest away from the jobs market.

Figures released this week from the Office for National Statistics show record job vacancies across the UK.

In November 2021 to January 2022 vacancies climbed to a record high of nearly 1.3 million, an increase of 513,00 from pre-coronavirus levels.

Motiv8, an innovative support programme that is being run across Greater Manchester, points out that while many employers are struggling to fill job roles, more than 20% of 16 – 64 year olds in the North West are classed as economically inactive. 

These people do not appear in any unemployment statistics as they are not actively seeking work.

Whilst some may be in education, training or early retirement, for others, ill health, addiction, a criminal record, homelessness, domestic abuse or isolation means holding down a steady job is a distant dream.

Motiv8 is a Greater Manchester programme, led by Jigsaw Homes Group, that aims to identify these individuals and work with them to overcome their barriers to achieve positive outcomes and move them towards training, job search and employment. It is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund.

“For thousands of people in Greater Manchester, ill health, addiction, a criminal record, homelessness, domestic abuse or isolation can feel like an insurmountable barrier to joining the workforce and the confidence, dignity and independence that comes with a job is never within reach,” said Kerrie Pryde, operational director at Jigsaw Support, part of Jigsaw Homes Group.

“The Motiv8 team support people aged 25 and over, with complex issues, to get back on track by creating personal action plans to address their individual needs and challenges.

“Ultimately we work with them to boost their confidence and skills so they are better positioned to move towards work.”

As part of the Motiv8 programme, a key worker supports clients every step of the way through an individual action plan and a package of support, ensuring their individual needs are met.

This may include support around benefits, health issues, mental wellbeing and addictions and generally providing a secure foundation for building confidence and a new life.

“It’s not an overnight change. It can take a while for someone to believe in themselves enough to address their barriers and be ready for the next steps of training, job search and employment,” added Kerrie.

“We’ll often encourage people to focus on a few goals at a time. It’s a good way to develop skills and confidence before taking the next steps.”

Maria, from Salford, was referred to Motiv8 by Citizens Advice while she was starting to recover from substance misuse but was under the threat of eviction from her home due to benefits being stopped without warning.

Suffering from Fibromyalgia and other health issues, she became depressed and didn’t have the money to eat or buy essentials.

Maria’s referral to Motiv8 was a major turning point for her.

“With incredible help and support from Jo, my key worker, I received help from many sources,” she said. 

“I was saved from eviction with the support of Jo and Shelter.

“Jo attended my Personal Independence Payment assessment with me which saw my benefits increased, she helped me access furniture, food parcels and counselling.

“I cannot emphasise enough how incredible Motiv8 has been for me and would recommend them to anyone and everyone going through difficult times in any form.

“I felt alone, helpless and lost and really could not see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Now I know that if things take a turn for the worse ever again that I am not alone trying to navigate this myself.” .

Maria is now looking to teach yoga, mindfulness and wellbeing. Motiv8 has supported her to create a website for her new venture running, yoga sessions online and hopes to start paid work this year.

“It has been an absolute delight to support Maria,” said Jo, Maria’s key worker. 

“It has been a privilege to watch her confidence return and I’m sure in the future Maria will achieve all her goals and dreams.”

Maria is now working with Motiv8’s Employability Team to take the final step on her journey.

Individuals can refer themselves to the Motiv8 programme. In addition, all statutory or voluntary agencies working within the Greater Manchester area are encouraged to refer clients to Motiv8. 

The main criteria for accessing the service is that the individual should be facing two significant barriers to accessing the job market and they must live in the Greater Manchester area with the right to live and work here.

They should be aged 25 or over and have a desire to change.

To find out more, email [email protected] or call 0161 3312048. More information can be found here.

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