Start Something Special

Job seekers start something new online in Middleton

Unemployed people from in and around Middleton have been taking part in the national Start something campaign over the last few weeks, as they get to grips with computers and the internet to help them back into work.

OB-PStart something is challenging people to leave failed New Year’s resolutions behind and start something new online instead – from job hunting to bargain hunting, keeping in touch to keeping up to date.  The campaign comes from OCF – the organisation behind the national network of UK online centres – with hundreds of start something sessions taking place across the country over the next five weeks.

Visitors to the Lighthouse Project , a ukonline specialist into-work centre, have been gaining new skills and using the computers to improve their CVs and look for work.

Director of the Lighthouse Project, Carl Roach explains: “Most jobs are advertised online now, and you’ve got to be looking in the right places.  Most will also require some kind of basic computer skills – from simple documents or spreadsheets to keeping databases or operating computerised machinery.  Many want you to fill in an application on their website, or at least have an email address and an electronic CV.

“Improving your computer skills and taking your job hunting online could be the kick-start you need to get back to work.  And now’s the perfect time to do it!  That’s why we’re delighted to be part of this campaign.  The job market is picking back up after Christmas, and at the Lighthouse Project we’re here to help you make a start on your journey back to work.”

Hosting regular drop-in sessions, job clubs and a variety of training courses, the Lighthouse Project has become an indispensable resource for the community.

Helen Milner meets Pam and Carl Mar 2013OCF Chief Executive Helen Milner, who visited the centre on Monday says: “Centres like these are essential in making sure everyone has the skills they need, not just for the workplace – but to find and apply for work too. The team at the Lighthouse Project are an inspiration, proving that a small group of dedicated people – many of them volunteers – can make a real difference to people’s lives. It’s been wonderful to be here in person and see so many people start something new online!”

One person who’s already made that start is local woman Mary, 52. Trying to get back to into work after 19 years as a stay at home mum, she soon realised that not knowing her way around a computer was going to be a real barrier to employment.

She explains: “Before the job centre referred me to the Lighthouse Project, the closest I’d come to a computer was walking past one in a shop window! I never used computers when I was in work and they definitely weren’t around when I was at school. But thanks to the Lighthouse Project I’ve got an email address and I’m looking for work online using Universal Jobmatch. If you’d have told me that a few months ago I would have believed it!”

Mary’s new skills also open up the kind of work she can apply for. She says: “I know most jobs now need some computer basics, even if it’s just filling in a timesheet, so it’s great to know I’m ready for that. Getting back into work after so many years is pretty scary so having had the chance to learn something new before I even get there makes me feel like there’s a job out there for me. Now I feel I’ve got something to offer!”

To follow in Mary’s footsteps and start something new online yourself,  you can contact Pam Semp at the Lighthouse Project on 0161 643 1163