The Ferryhill LADDER team

Climbing up the LADDER to Employment*

A County Durham charity is helping people climbing up the ladder to employment.

Ferryhill Lakes and District Development Education Resource Centre, also known as Ferryhill Ladder Centre has helped six people find a job through its Digital and Financial Wellbeing project.

Funded by a grant of £9,846 from the ESF Community Grant Programme, managed by County Durham Community Foundation, the project has been a huge success at helping people get online safely.

Ferryhill Ladder Centre was founded in 2002 as a community hub. Soon the team realised that unemployment was a key issue and the focus became courses and support around employability.

Before the pandemic, the project offered a group session to help people grow their IT skills, CV writing, manage universal credit and overcome barriers that they faced.

Climbing up the ladder

In March last year, the group sessions could no longer run, so the team switched to a system of one-to-one support. Residents were offered 10 hours of free learning and many started to access online Zoom sessions.

The clients could choose what they wanted help with: applying for jobs online, setting up online banking, online food shopping or help to stay connected with family and friends online.

Some clients were interested in applying for jobs at the new Amazon site, near Bowburn. So the team worked with them to build a CV, work on the application form and download the software for the interview.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Kath Merrington, manager of the LADDER Centre said. “The ESF funding helped us to support an older gentleman who had been unemployed for several years.

“After a detailed discussion, we provided him with one-to-one IT and employability support.  This included updating his CV and providing him with the IT skills to be able to search and apply for jobs online. 

“We also provided interview skills workshops and supported him to complete an online applications and carry out online interviews. 

“As a result of the support received though this grant, the gentleman successfully completed the online application and interview process for Amazon and is now employed.

“We had six people gain employment. Some were seasonal staff but over half of them have managed to maintain a full time job, which is great to see.

“Now we continue to work with people to offer support and we hope we can continue with our group learning and job club, which we run five days a week.”

Funding of up to £10,000 is still available from the ESF Community Grant Programme. Deadline for applications is Sunday 28th February.

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*Photo taken before the pandemic.