Many of the unemployed people in our community are dealing with a mindset that leads them to think that there is still work at the end of their street. There is generational unemployment across Greater Manchester due to the changing technology and loss of industry giants; people have skills for jobs that are no longer available. This has also led to a skills gap not only in maths and English, but also in the fundamental digital knowledge they now need to live in society and access services they need.
It is thought that many of the people in our community do not want to work, however, we have established that this is often more a case of people not knowing how to work or look for work which is fit for their current skills.
We have found that the longevity of their unemployment has caused complex conditions, added to this other chronic illnesses compound the situation. Many of these issues are not recognised by their health practitioners or themselves and with the Welfare Reform, they now find themselves in a position that means they need to find work and this is a skill in itself, which many of them don’t have.
Our challenge is to provide activities that will engage people to build and grow their skills and confidence at a pace that allows them to retain the knowledge and information they need to move seamlessly into work that is, not only beneficial to their health and wellbeing but is also sustainable for them to continue to grow a healthy sense of place in their community.
The current situation here is one of deprivation and poor health! Looking ahead, and with new ideas and activities that will help people to engage and learn skills, to live a healthy lifestyle in this time of transformation in our country both economically and digitally. This will enable our communities to find ways to digitally and otherwise to transform their lives and sustain their healthy sense of place.