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A Better Start Southend - Work Skills Project

What is the ABSS Work Skills Project?

The Work Skills project is a key part of A Better Start Southend (ABSS), with a focus on skills, enterprise, employment and wider economic development, all with the aim of inspiring and exciting parents of children under 4 in the ABSS wards. The project shows to parents that the world of work can be both exciting and accommodating to them and the needs of their young children. Free childcare is provided at the events, with the help of a mobile, Ofsted registered crèche.

The Work Skills team works with businesses across the Southend Borough and other local areas. The parents that are supported by the project are living within 6 wards of Southend-on-Sea, identified as the areas of highest deprivation: Milton, Victoria, Westborough, Kursaal, Shoebury and West Shoebury. Click here for more details.

The Work Skills events take place all year round. The delivery year runs from November to October, and in the 2017/18 year the team is expecting to have run 40 events. For the 2018/19 delivery year they're hoping to work with lots more businesses, inspire many more parents, and run even more events!

Contact Lucie or Amir in the Work Skills team to find out more

Why Do Businesses Want to Get Involved in the Work Skills Project?

The Work Skills Project has many benefits for businesses as well as for the individuals that attend. Within the project, there are 4 different types of events and each one has it's own unique characteristics. 

Industry Visits

During these 2 hour sessions at the business premises, parents can be offered the chance to find out more about their ideal career path. They'll be given guidance and inside tips from HR professionals in the know, staff members that might have similar backgrounds to their own, and they'll have the chance to see behind the scenes of the business. The project has already worked with companies including Holiday Inn, Waitrose, Toby Carvery, Southend Care, and are looking forward to working with many more.

These are some of the reasons why businesses can benefit from holding an Industry Visit with the Work Skills team:

  • If you’re looking to recruit then an Industry Visit could help you to find the perfect member of staff. The project has already helped to recruit for Bourgee, Southend Care, even the A Better Start Southend project.
  • Promotional material goes out across the borough, social media platforms, and the Council’s business pages, and your company could be part of it
  • The Work Skills team supports businesses very closely in organising the Industry Visits. They'll draft the 2 hour event brief, do all the marketing and promotion, get attendees there, and the Work Skills team will be there on the day to help!
  • Participate in a Big Lottery Funded Project that focusses specifically on the Southend Borough, and is aimed at improving the lives of young children and their families

60 Minute Mentor

These events are a fantastic chance for a business professional with an interesting, relevant background, an inspiring story of achievement, or success within a particular industry, to tell their story. Attendees hope to discover possible career pathways through meeting inspirational role models, driving aspirations
and supporting social mobility. Previous speakers include a Manager from Marks & Spencers, A Solicitor from Southend Borough Council, a Florist who runs her own business, a Head of Department from South Essex College, and the Lead Nurse Practice Development/Education Liaison Manager from Southend Hospital. These are just some of the reasons they wanted to be involved and why you might too:

  • A fulfilling experience to meet people starting on their career path and be able  to help them
  • Be fully supported by the Work Skills team, from preparing your initial presentation/talk to delivering it on the day of the event
  • Earn Industry Champion points

Intro 2 Enterprise

This is a 4-week course designed to help parents become inspired to start their own business or become an entrepreneur, putting their ideas into practice and turning their skills, talent and passion into a viable business. They receive in-depth knowledge of the process and requirements to set it up, from local enterprise advice professionals who guide and offer advice and practical steps, including market research, financing, advertising and legal requirements

The Work Skills project has had several success stories since the course first ran in 2017, from a record shop, to a cleaning business, an Ebay shop and many more ideas. At the fourth and final session business professionals are invited to attend a marketplace. There are many reasons why your business might be perfect to have one of the stalls available:

  • Speak to attendees about how you might be able to help them
  • Perhaps you can offer advice about running a small or medium business?
  • Perhaps you offer accountancy services or other business functions that these new business entrepreneurs would need
  • Take this unique opportunity to network with other businesses as well as start-ups and individuals new to the industry 

Learning for Mum and Dad 

What could you teach?

These sessions are a monthly programme of free training and education resources delivered at easy to access locations. The courses will aid employment skills for parents, with the ultimate goal that they will access training, employment or further education.

  • Events include: Careers in Childcare, ESOL, Basic Computer Skills, Building Assertiveness and Confidence, CV Development, Interview Skills, Flexible Working
  • The Works Skills team have arranged sessions delivered by organisations such as Job Centre Plus, National Careers Service, Southend Adult Community College, First Aid Fairies, South East and Central Essex MIND, and many more. 
  • Perhaps there’s a skill or knowledge that you could deliver to parents to help them get back into employment, education or training
  • Click here to keep updated with our Work Skills blog

How Can You Get Involved?

Contact Lucie (Skills Project Administrator) or Amir (Skills Project Officer) at or call 01702 534077