Gateshead Library Support Economy and Employment Growth
Gateshead library services’ programme of work supporting jobseekers in libraries contributes to the council’s portfolio for economy and employment support.
Gateshead’s council plan for 2015-20 has a number of shared outcomes, including ‘Prosperous Gateshead – a thriving economy for all’, which aims to provide:
- more and better paid jobs and more people in work
fewer people with low level skills and more people with higher level skills through:
- improved educational attainment
- increased learning and development
- more private, public and social investment
- an increase in the working age population
Support to jobseekers from libraries and careers events as detailed helps to achieve this, and to support local people getting back into work.
The library service’s support to jobseekers has evolved over time and responds to demand from customers. However, many jobseekers are not proficient with IT and rely on library staff for day to day support with job searching. The migration of government services to the Universal Jobmatch service online has led to a sharp increase in demand for on going, regular support. As a result library staff have become very familiar with the Universal Jobmatch web site and problem troubleshooting.
The service responds to requests for help immediately but often due to staffing commitments, the amount of time initially spent with a customer may be limited. The resolution has been to signpost customers to the weekly Jobclub held at the central library. This scheduling ensures that staff are available to help with job seeking support. In other branch libraries, customers may book a one-to-one session and a few formal taught courses are aimed at jobseekers. The courses include, ‘Email for employability’, a 3 week programme helping jobseekers to set up an email account and use it confidently to look for work. The service has also invested in an online service, ‘MyWorkSearch’ to help people look for work and to write a CV.
Alongside this support for jobseekers, a different strand of our work has been to inform and motivate young people into a career in the creative industries; a growing area of employment in our region. Building on events we have held to showcase new technologies; we work in partnership with games giant Reflections: Ubisoft who have an office locally, to demonstrate the breadth of careers in the sector and the skills needed to succeed. With Ubisoft we have delivered two ‘Video Games Ambassadors’ events, which have offered a mixture of talks and hands on workshops.