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Improving Job Chances and Life Skills in Newport

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A scheme in Newport Central Library is providing opportunities for people looking for work to enhance their skills while also helping other people with job searches.

Newport City Council is working with the JobCentre Plus to give some of their clients the opportunity to volunteer for eight weeks in the library in John Frost Square.

They are able to help other job seekers to use the public network computers to search for employment.

The volunteers are able to enhance their own IT skills as well as boost their confidence. Some have already been successful in finding work following their library experience.

In another project, library staff are working in partnership with the RNIB to assist people with sensory loss get online.

Free two hour drop-in sessions are being held on 9 June, 14 July and 11 August from 10am-12pm in Bettws Library and 2pm-4pm in Central Library.

People can bring along their own digital devices or try some of the equipment brought along by the RNIB.

Councillor Debbie Harvey, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said:

“Our libraries are able to offer free, easy online access to those looking for work and the numbers using this service are on the rise.

“It is also important to widen access to the internet for as many people as possible and the work staff are doing with the RNIB is extremely important. I would urge residents with sight loss who feel they could use some advice to pop along to one of the sessions where they will be made very welcome.”

Councillor Roger Jeavons, Cabinet Member for Work and Skills, said:

“It is clear that there have already been benefits to people looking for work, both those using the computers for job searches and the volunteers who are able to assist them while improving their own skills.

“Not everyone has a computer, or the confidence to use one, but the public access computers in our libraries offer everyone the opportunity to access the internet safely.”

Helen Vaugan, of Jobcentre Plus, said:

“Since our first candidate started in January 2014 the Central Library has hosted eleven individuals on voluntary work experience. These placements have proven to be invaluable as our customers have had the opportunity to gain and expand their IT  and customer service skills in busy working environment.  Many of them have signed off benefits and are now in employment.

“By continuing to work in partnership with Newport Central Library, many more young people will benefit from a valuable and meaningful experience.”