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Basic skills scheme helps jobless gain employment.

A new initiative designed to help unemployed people gain the skills needed to get back into the world of work has been launched in Birmingham. Skills for Living is being run by Pertemps Employment Alliance at three offices in Smiths Wood, Sparkhill and Handsworth, and aims to improve the numeracy and literacy of long-term unemployed people. There are currently around 40 people enrolled on the course. Sparkhill man Anser Mehmood, who wants to begin a career in the security industry, recently celebrated becoming the first to complete the course, achieving entry level three in numeracy. The 34-year-old has already achieved qualifications in security and is looking for a permanent job. Nin Wong, basic skills tutor at Pertemps Employment Alliance (PEA), said the first course is proving to be very popular with local people with more than 20 students studying for literacy, numeracy and English language qualifications. Lessons, which take place from 9.30am to 3.30pm, are made interesting and relevant by focusing on topics such as housing, said Nin, including looking at types of homes, reading estate agents brochures, budgeting for bills and furniture and other subjects. She added: "The response from learners has been really good. They have attended regularly and have shown a high level of motivation to achieve. "It's a new course but we have been really encouraged by the reaction of those attending and we hope it will gain in popularity as more people learn exactly what's available and how we can help them. "We deliver literacy, numeracy and ESOL through topics which learners are familiar with and will come across in daily life, such as shopping which requires skills in estimation, calculating change and quantities. "We may also use role play to help learners in finding the appropriate language to use for effective communications, or for writing for specific purposes such as complaint letters or emailing friends." The course is open to people aged 25 and over who are claiming Jobseekers Allowance. A training allowance, travel expenses and lunch may be available. More information is available at Jobcentres or by calling the PEA office in Sparkhill on 0121 325 6082.

PEA, which has offices across Birmingham and Solihull, delivers Government-funded employment initiatives. Each year, working along Jobcentre Plus, it helps thousands of long-term unemployed people get back into work or into self-employment.

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Anser Mehmood is looking forward to building a career in the security industry after completing the Skills for Living course with the help of tutor Nin Wong, of Pertemps Employment Alliance.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Apr 10, 2007
Words:421
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