Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has congratulated Marina Benson for being the 100th person in Redcar to find secure employment through the Routes to Work programme.
The £7.5million Routes to Work pilot supports local people across Tees Valley aged 30 or over who are unemployed and who need the most help into moving back into work. It identifies and addresses multiple barriers to employment and engages a number of providers for a wide-ranging, joined-up assistance.
Marina Benson, the 100th person to be helped in the borough, now works at the Redcar & Cleveland Voluntary Development Agency (R&CVDA) in a Business Support role. She was helped back into employment by her Key Worker Joy Hamilton.
Since the pilot was launched in 2017 almost 2,350 people across Tees Valley have engaged with the service, with 340 back into work. The pilot is on course to exceed its target of 375 people into work by March 2021.
Marina said: “I was supported by Routes to Work for almost a year and during that time my adviser Joy worked closely with me providing all necessary help and support. She was always positive and advised me to never give up.
“In November 2019, Joy forwarded my CV to the Voluntary Development Agency and I was invited for an interview and offered the job. Now I can say that a new chapter in my professional life has begun. I would like to thank Joy and Routes to Work for their help and support through this difficult time in my life.”
Mayor Houchen said: “Routes to Work is a vital initiative which is helping local people who need it the most develop the skills needed so they can access the jobs that we’re creating here in the Tees valley. The service is run by dedicated and caring professionals, which is directly transforming the lives of people here.
“Marina is a brilliant example of the success of the service. She’s a hard-working and enthusiastic individual who was determined to get back into work, but who needed some support. I’d like to congratulate her on her new role, and wish her all the best for the future. With her grit and determination, I’m sure she’ll go far.”
Cllr Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “We are so pleased Marina has found work which has restored her confidence and self-esteem. Our Routes to Work team do fantastic work getting people back into employment, and removing barriers for those who are struggling; I’m very proud of the work they have done, and wish Marina the best of luck for her future.”
The Routes to Work pilot programme has been funded by £6million from the Department for Work and Pensions, with the Mayor and Combined Authority providing match-funding of £1.5million. It is delivered by the five Tees Valley Local Authorities.
“I was a client of Routes to Work for almost a year after I was made redundant from my previous employer. I went along to lots of interviews with various companies and organisations, but they were unsuccessful and my confidence began to drop.
“As well as talking about my interview skills and completing a mock interview, Joy was always supportive and helped my determination to find a new job.
“She suggested work experience to keep my skills up to date and helped me get a placement at Teesside University in the Department of Academic Registry for six weeks. My time there was really interesting and enjoyable, and also helped my confidence immensely.
“In November 2019, Joy forwarded my CV to the Voluntary Development Agency and I was invited for an interview and offered a job. I’m delighted at being employed. I really like my new working environment and the nature of the organisation and I enjoy socialising with my new colleagues too.
“I hope my knowledge, skills and experience will be used to support different projects and that I will become a valuable member of the RCVDA team.”