Peer pressure helps city's unemployed to find work
A £30,000 scheme to help unemployed people is set to be launched.
Five new jobs will be created as a result of the Peer Support Project, which is being pioneered by Broxtowe Education Skills and Training (BEST) in partnership with Nottingham City Council.
The scheme works on the assumption that disadvantaged families will relate better and find it easier to talk to people from a similar background, as opposed to senior professionals.
They will then be more likely to use the services available to get the most appropriate help.
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It is hoped this will lead to social work becoming more cost effective, by allowing council employees to concentrate on the most complex and urgent cases.
BEST chief executive Anna Mimms said: "BEST will be employing five unemployed local people to work with families.
"This new peer support team will help priority families solve problems so that they can find ways coping with their lives. This is about communities supporting one another, creating jobs and empowerment.
"BEST is thrilled to be leading on this new initiative."
The project is being backed with a £30,000 grant from Nottingham City Council.
The money will cover the first year's wages of the five new recruits, who will be paid the minimum wage, while BEST will cover the costs of managing the scheme.
Each candidate will receive training and every applicant will be considered for the role, regardless of experience.
Ms Mimms said: "Candidates don't necessarily have to have work experience but they will have empathy skills and may have done volunteering work in the past.
"The job will involve lots of training so is a great opportunity for people looking for their first job."
After a year the scheme will be assessed for its effectiveness and if it is proven to work could eventually be paid for by the Government. It could also be introduced all over the city.
Aspley councillor Graham Chapman welcomed the scheme and said he hoped it would lead to people getting the help they need.
He said: "This scheme is aimed at the long-term unemployed and is precisely the positive way to get people off benefits and into work rather than penalising whole groups of people, most of whom are at work or genuinely disabled, who are currently being targeted by Government welfare reforms."