Secretary of State for Education praises Petersfield employment programme

published on 29 May 2019

Damian Hinds visits Petersfield

EAST HAMPSHIRE MP and Secretary of State for Education Damian Hinds called in to a service that supports local people to find work on Friday 24 May.

He visited the Employment Plus programme in Petersfield which is run by The Salvation Army to help townspeople become job-ready, get a job and stay in work.
Employment Plus gives people who are looking for work the tailored support they need at the time they need it.
This can include the chance to study and gain qualifications, computer training and support to complete application forms and CVs.

Damian Hinds MP praised the service and its volunteers. He said: 
“The Salvation Army’s community church here is uniquely placed to offer what I consider is a vital employment service for the area. I was impressed by the professionalism yet also by how personal the approach is towards local people who are looking for work. It was great to hear the success stories of moving into work, and now looking to make the next move up.”

During his visit, Mr Hinds spoke to Salvation Army volunteers and staff at the centre about Employment Plus and the importance of training programmes for people who are unemployed.
Captain Linda Read, who started the Employment Plus service just over a year ago explained why it’s such an important resource in the local area: 

“When the Job Centre closed in the town we were worried there wouldn’t be anywhere for local people to turn to, so we opened our employment programme. We didn’t know how much need for it there’d be, but we quickly found out there was. While Petersfield can appear quite an affluent town, there are real pockets of poverty and people can slip through the cracks. Our weekly drop-in has four volunteers and people get a one-to-one, personal service, where they can get tailored advice to help them find work.”

Volunteer, Carole, said of the local service: 
“We try to make people feel welcome no matter what skills they have or what they need. There’s always a cup of tea or coffee waiting, and sometimes cake. There’s no criteria, and importantly, people can take their time here so they get the best chance for finding work.”

Mr Hinds also spent time meeting people who are on the Employment Plus programme and discussed how it is helping them.
Brian, who had been unemployed for a year before he came to The Salvation Army, said: 
“It’s relaxed here, there’s no pressure. Before this place, I had to go to Havant or get two buses to Bordon. The support is great, I’ve now found a part-time job.”

Rebecca Keating, director of The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus said: 
“It was a pleasure to welcome the Secretary of State for Education to the Employment Plus programme at Petersfield today and show him how we support people from the local community who are unemployed to find work. 

“People who are looking for work need to be able to access the right support they need at the time they need it - which is what we provide through Employment Plus, but we know that unfortunately not everyone is able to do this. This is why investment in skills training needs to be a priority for national and local governments to help ensure that everyone who needs employment support is able to access it to help them find work.” 

The Employment Plus programme operates out of The Salvation Army hall on Swan Street in Petersfield and 80 other locations across the country.
The community church also runs a food bank and supports people experiencing homelessness in the area with a drop-in breakfast service.
For more information, visit our Petersfield page.

The Salvation Army has been supporting people to find work since it opened the first ever labour exchange in 1890 to skill people up so that they could get a job and move out of poverty.