Unemployed and low-wage adults in the North-West of England can take advantage of free online educational courses with a focus on providing skills for roles that are likely to be in demand in the post-lockdown labour market.

Almost 700,000 jobs have been lost because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, putting the unemployment rate at 4.1 per cent.

Unemployment levels have likely been compounded by the phasing out of the furlough scheme, and reports that there will be twice as many redundancies as in the last recession. It is more important than ever to provide jobseekers with the skills they need to find and sustain employment in an increasingly competitive labour market.

The online courses are free to anyone aged between 19 and 65 who are unemployed on or low wage. Seetec Outsource runs the courses in Liverpool and Manchester regions through the Local Authority Adult Education Budget (AEB).

The programmes are delivered by an online blended model that can be accessed flexibly from Seetec centres or by homeworking, meaning learners can complete the sessions around other commitments such as work or childcare.

Dorian and Maria have recently completed a Seetec Outsource course and successfully secured employment in Liverpool.  Both have recommended the service to their friends as it has made a real impact on their lives moving them towards their ultimate goals.

Dorian, who is from Honduras, has lived in Liverpool for 6 months.  He learnt about Seetec at the Jobcentre and has found the course useful as it helped him hearing and learning pronunciation and practicing spoken English. This has enabled him to gain a better understanding of English and helped him to find a job as a restaurant kitchen assistant.

Dorian said: “My aim right now it is to start college and become fluent in English. I also want to learn to become a chef and to open my own Latin restaurant in England. This course has been the first step to that and I have recommended it to my friends.”

Maria moved to Liverpool from Gran Canaria.  She was working in fashion retail and wanted to take the next step in her career when she heard about the course from a friend.

Maria said: “The course helped me to continue to improve my English, especially as I was losing practice during lockdown.  As my English improved, I felt more confident with job interviews and I found a new job in a hotel three weeks ago.  Long term I would like to study tourism and am looking into Universities, but I want to improve my English even more first.”

For the first time, Seetec Outsource is providing bespoke courses that are focused on health and social care, including understanding mental health, drug and alcohol dependency and dementia awareness. Recruitment and retention issues are significant in the sector, Skills for Care estimated in 2019 that there were 122,000 vacancies in adult social care. Seetec Outsource is committed to supporting key sectors to attract new workers and upskill their existing workforce.

There is also an introduction to construction, warehouse and storage, security industry accreditation and a course for those looking to set up a new business, along with more traditional skills training courses in customer services, business administration, hospitality and retail.

Seetec Outsource head of adult education and traineeships, Andi MacGregor, said: “The latest unemployment statistics are a stark reminder of the challenges that lie ahead as the impact of Covid-19 becomes increasingly clear. Our service users have told us that increased family commitments during the pandemic, including childcare and wider care responsibilities, are continuing to hold them back from securing employment. Our fully funded online courses offer a more flexible way for people to gain new skills and enhance their job prospects.

“There are opportunities for jobseekers – the high vacancy levels in social care is just one example of a sector looking for new entrants. Warehouse and storage work forms part of another sector seeing a growth in job vacancies.

“By targeting support to those who are unemployed or in low-wage employment in the North-West, we aim to help address the skills gap preventing people from finding work. It is important that people do not feel they will have to face the impact of Covid-19 alone, our team of support workers is here to help.”

To find out more about opportunities available if you are aged 19 and over, not working or on a low wage and live in the North-West visit: https://www.seetecoutsource.co.uk/individuals/opportunities