Me2U, a unique partnership project led by Cumnock Academy, is celebrating its first big success story.
The partnership, which involves the Council, Jobcentre Plus and Ayrshire College, was started by Teraessa Lopez, Principal Teacher of Art and Design. She saw an opportunity to bring volunteers into the school for the mutual benefit of the both the school and the community.
Jobcentre Plus saw this as a fantastic opportunity for local unemployed people.
Ms Lopez established a working group, developing an innovative project plan with partners. Nine individuals successfully applied to take part in the scheme which ran from December and finishes this month.
The Me2U team were provided with uniforms and work closely with the mentors during school time.
The team are also working with Ayrshire College on Personal Development, Customer Care and Problem Solving. These units allow learners to improve their self-reliance and confidence, develop skills, knowledge and understanding of customer care and use skills to solve problems in personal, workplace, social and educational situations.
And the wonderful news is that the first person from the Me2U programme has already secured full time employment.
Isobel from Cumnock applied for Me2U after discussing the scheme with her Jobcentre Work Coach, Lesley Burns. Lesley not only encouraged Isobel to apply but supported her throughout the process.
Isobel said: “Me2U made me feel valued again. I was fed up looking for jobs with no success and had lost my confidence. The Me2U group and the staff at Cumnock Academy, Ayrshire College and the Jobcentre were all very supportive. “It was interesting working at the school and good to get out and do an actual job of work again, it made me feel as if I was doing some good. The placement in the school kitchen really brought my confidence back; I missed the company and the laughs you get at work. This all helped me feel confident enough to approach employers again, and ultimately get this job.”
Lynn Hammell, Ayrshire Manager for Jobcentre Plus said: “Jobcentre Plus is delighted that Isobel gained the relevant skills and training that enabled her to find employment.”
Head teacher Angus McVake said: “I couldn’t be more delighted for Isobel. She worked very hard within the school kitchen and with great enthusiasm. She became part of the team really quickly, fitting right in. I sincerely wish Isobel every success with her new job.
“Ms Lopez had a vision of all partners working together for the benefit of the school and the community and this is already paying dividends. I hope that we will see many more people securing employment from the Me2U scheme.
“An information evening has already been held for the next round of candidates interested in taking part in Me2U and we will be recruiting our new team in the near future so watch this space.”