PEOPLE who have lost their job or are looking for new employment are being offered help in County Durham.

Durham County Council encourages residents aged 25 and over to take advantage of a tailored support programme which could boost their chances of finding work.

Its Employability Durham Team can help people use this period of ‘lockdown’ to prepare for future job roles.

Advisers help people to explore their employment options and identify any barriers preventing them achieving their goals then with a range of actions including training, CV writing, job searching, confidence building and interview preparation.

Margaret Reed, from Chester-le-Street, who was looking for part-time work close to home found employment as a cleaner in a health centre with help from the team.

Adviser Emma West helped her to find and apply for jobs online and supported her to apply for a DBS check and purchase interview clothes.

Margaret said: “I feel much better being back in work and the part time hours allow me to have the rest of the day to myself. I’m very grateful for all Emma’s support.”

Councillor Carl Marshall, the council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: “We know that the pandemic has led to a significant number of people losing their jobs and many more at risk of unemployment over the coming months.

“We want to provide as much support as possible to help these people back into work or improve their employment prospects and signing up to our support programmes now will give people the best chance of identifying the right roles and being successful in the coming weeks and months.

“Employability Durham can help with all aspects of getting into work, from organising training courses to helping decide what to wear to an interview. The team can help to address issues which might prevent someone from starting work too, such as help with their mental health, housing problems or debt management support.”

John Tindale, employability manager for Durham County Council, said: “We speak to people about their skills and passions, as well as their worries, family situations, housing set-up and health concerns to find out what their abilities and limitations are.

“Then we work with them to figure out what will be beneficial in moving forward. We know it’s really important to do this with them, discussing rather than instructing, as they need to be part of planning their own future.

“Addressing the bigger things in someone’s life has to come ahead of thinking about work. It’s obvious that someone can’t hold down a job if we haven’t initially addressed their childcare needs.”

The team can also help purchase replacement ID needed for employment, offer support with costs such as travel, clothing, food and childcare until a person’s first wage is paid and explore self-employment options and access business planning services.

Online and virtual services are currently being used due to coronavirus restrictions.

For an appointment email or contact the team through its Employability Durham Facebook page.

Further information about the Employability Durham Team is available at