As the coronavirus pandemic has seen the lives of many workers turned upside down, a free career coaching service is stepping up to offer support.
Future Bright is run by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and offers guidance to people in work and receiving benefits or tax credits to develop their skills, boost their job prospects and increase their incomes.
In response to the coronavirus, the scheme has been widened to help those whose work and income has been affected and a team of one-to-one career coaches is working with people to support them using phone and video channels to keep in touch.
“We’ve seen a real demand for our support from people whose work and income has been affected by coronavirus,” says career progression coach Hayden Berry.
“I’ve been helping self-employed people and those in the ‘gig economy’ and even working with one participant who is using this moment as an opportunity to explore a change of career.
“It’s really varied and that is the great thing about the Future Bright service – it is personally tailored to what each participant needs. I am glad that I can support people during a really difficult time.”
West of England mayor Tim Bowles, who leads WECA, said: “I am determined that our residents get all the support they can through the current emergency.
“I know people across the region are facing real challenges with changes to their employment and incomes, so I have expanded our Future Bright programme to make sure people can get the advice and support they need in these unprecedented times.
“This means residents affected by the pandemic now have a dedicated careers coach, free coaching and training to help them understand all the options available to them and make informed choices.”
Future Bright supports residents in Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire aged 19 and over.
The expanded service can now help:
- Those who have been made redundant, laid off or are at risk of redundancy, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Employees whose hours have been significantly reduced, and who therefore have a lower income.
- Self-employed workers, where their ability to earn has been severely impacted due to the nature of their business.
- Furloughed employees, if their reduced income means they are eligible for Universal Credit.