In response to the restrictions imposed by lockdown, the Community Investment Team had to adapt the Great Places employability offer. Previously Great Places held regular jobs fairs in different venues, including local community centres. The challenge was to deliver a similar experience for our customers online, providing relevant information, advice and guidance.
In December the team achieved this and hosted the first virtual event. It was structured around three key sectors: construction, health and social care and self-employment. Great Places partnered with Engie, Reed and Enterprising You, to offer informal video calls discussing options about how to move into these areas. These sectors had been identified as key growth areas in the post-pandemic world.
The virtual event received a great response with over 30 people attending. The format enabled us to reach a wider audience than traditional jobs fairs and provided a blueprint for future events. The feedback after the event was positive.
In February, Great Places offered a second virtual event providing training on how to set up a business, in partnership with other housing associations and the Pop-Up Business School. This was attended by 107 people in total, including 29 Great Places customers. Again, feedback was positive and the flexibility was highlighted as a big advantage.
In early April, Great Places held a third virtual jobs fair ‘Creating My Futures’, a joint event with Southway Homes. This was a combination of workshops, presentations and discussions across multiple sectors. Our Great Places employability coaches hosted workshops which saw great engagement from the 35 people that attended.