Islington jobs initiative helps 1,000 back into work

Cllr Richard Watts said Islington is ready to welcome those who have fled 'appalling conditions'

Cllr Richard Watts said Islington is ready to welcome those who have fled 'appalling conditions' - Credit: Archant

More than 1,000 of Islington’s unemployed have found jobs in the last year, thanks to a council-led scheme.

According to a new council report – Making it Work Better - this marks a significant improvement on the previous year’s results, when a total of 816 benefitted.

Since then, Islington Council has worked closely with local employers to create more than 300 new jobs across the borough and to help more than 100 unemployed residents find work at the King’s Cross redevelopment site.

But new jobs aren’t the whole story: many unemployed residents have also had free personal coaching and advice. Indeed, most of the 1,023 people who found work in 2014 and 2015 were directly helped by Islington’s Learning, Skills and Employment Service, which includes the council’s iWork team. This service provides mentoring and coaching - as well as help to find suitable training, placements and employment.

Many of the people most in need of these services have been identified through a new initiative, where GPs refer patients who have been unemployed for a long time to specialist employment coaches based in local doctors’ surgeries.

Islington’s latest push to tackle unemployment began with the creation in January 2014 of the Islington Employment Commission - co-chaired by Maggie Semple OBE and Cllr Robert Khan.

Describing the latest employment figures as “great news”, council leader Richard Watts said this week that many more people could benefit.

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“There is still much to do of course, including helping the high numbers of people on Employment Support Allowance to get into jobs that work for them,” he said. “We are convinced that it is local, not central, government, which is best placed to do this – not just in Islington but across London too.”

He described the fight against unemployment as crucial.

“Unemployment is at the heart of many of the big problems we face in our borough. When you have got kids growing up in households where no one works, that can lead to a lot of problems. We think it’s really important, if we are going to make a fairer borough where everyone can benefit from the prosperity around them, to get people into work.”

The new report coincides with the launch of the ‘Islington Aspires’ website, where local employers can find out how to recruit local people and apprentices.

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