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Praise for inner-city employment scheme.

A LEADING Birmingham councillor has praised a pounds 2million employment centre which is helping hundreds of inner city residents find work.

Coun Ken Hardeman, Birmingham City Council's cabinet member for regeneration, was impressed by the facilities available to job-hunters at the Working Neighbourhoods (WiN) initiative at Newtown Shopping Centre.

The ground-breaking initiative is run by Pertemps Employment Alliance, part of the Pertemps Partnership, at its Newtown Advancement Centre.

Coun Hardeman was greeted by PEA chief executive Colin Birchall and Pertemps Group chairman Tim Watts.

The centre provides a one-stop employment and advice facility to allow residents better access to sustainable jobs. Its success is based on a more holistic approach to securing a job including' employment advice and guidance, micro-finance support for business start ups and an on-line learning facility accessible to everyone in the local community.

Other facilities include the Birmingham Credit Union, a crAche, internet cafA, community bistro and a healthy living centre with a range of activities at either reduced cost or free of charge to local residents.

Coun Hardeman met staff and clients and saw how long-term unemployment is being tackled by WiN across Newtown, Aston and Lozells.

He also met some of the team delivering Aston Pride Moving Up - a pounds 600,000 project which involves a team of outreach workers who meet unemployed people at a range of community venues throughout the area.

The project has smashed its targets, finding jobs for 190 people in just nine months and engaging with more than 700 local people.

Coun Hardeman said: "I have to say that the way Pertemps Employment Alliance considers the range of individual needs in a community setting is admirable and the facilities that they provide here are second to none.

"They are so inclusive that it is easy for people to become clients and equally easy for them to enter the world of work. I am very pleased that the City Council and Pertemps are partner.

"I was particularly impressed with the staff, who are both mentors and employment coaches. Many have been unemployed and are actually from the surrounding area which is so important in such a diverse community."

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IMPRESSED... regeneration chief Coun Ken Hardeman.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Oct 12, 2006
Words:366
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