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Help and support

I am looking for work or education opportunities

Details of free advice, support and training that is available to help you look for work, training or education and manage your circumstances.

  1. How can I get support to seek and apply for work?

    There is lots of different support to help you.

    Careers advice

    The National Careers Service provides information, advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work.

    The service includes:

    • Job profiles
    • Skills health check
    • Finding a course
    • Help to get a job

    You can contact them through Web Chat or

    Careers helpline 0800 100 900

    Text messages: 07766 413 219

    Textphone: 0800 096 8336

    Monday to Sunday, 8am to 10pm

    If you have an idea of the career you wish to pursue but would like advice on the different options to help you or if want advice on how to change career please contact Skill Up

    Step Up Somerset provides guidance if you are searching for your next job opportunity, starting a new career, working on your employability skills or just beginning your journey in the world of work.

    CV Writing and Interview Skills

    Somerset Skills and Learning are currently offering free employability training in:

    • Finding and Applying for Jobs
    • Making a start with your CV
    • The Interview Stage

    Young Somerset runs focussed programmes which are designed to help young people gain skills to help them with their social and economic wellbeing and employability.

    Positive People is an organisation that offer support to anyone aged 18 who are not in work no matter what the reason. They can help you build your confidence and skills they are currently hosting a Virtual Job Club on Zoom every Wednesday 10am-12pm. Providing support and advice on online job searching, creating and updating your CV, managing your CV online.

    The National Careers Service provide a free How to write a CV guide and Interview Advice.

    A number of recruitment agencies provide free advice, support and tools, a couple of examples are provided below. South Somerset District Council is not endorsing these providers, many other recruitment agencies also provide free information on their websites too.

    Reed

    Monster

    If you wish to talk to someone about your next steps into employment please e-mail redundancyhelp@southsomerset.gov.uk and a member of the support team will get back to you in 5 working days, please provide your name and contact details.

    Searching for Jobs

    Useful websites:

    Somersetjobs.co.uk promotes job vacancies across Somerset with specific search criteria, it also has an events calendar where you can find out about recruitment events or job and careers fairs.

    Step Up Somerset provides guidance if you are searching for your next job opportunity, starting a new career, working on your employability skills or just beginning your journey in the world of work.

    Job Help provides a wide range of job search help and advice, including information about working in critical sectors and the latest vacancies and Job Search a free tool to help you search for job opportunities.

    The jobcentre produce Job Help Somerset. Here you can find updates about local events, support and job vacancies, as well as a link to your local Jobcentre Plus Twitter account.

    Local Job Clubs:

    The Covid-19 pandemic has temporarily resulted in the majority of local Job Club provision having to close, please see find the latest information using the links below.  Positive People are providing a Virtual Job Club on Zoom every Wednesday 10am-12pm. Providing support and advice on online job searching, creating and updating your CV, managing your CV online.

    Yeovil 4 Work, not exclusive to Yeovil residents

    Martock Job Club, not exclusive to Martock residents but there is a catchment area, the link provides full details.

    Wincanton Balsam Centre Job

    Chard Young Peoples Centre, Essex Close, Chard Currently open to just Yarlington residents. Visit http://www.inspired2achieve.net/ for details.

    Local Employment Agencies:

    The list below provides contact information for some local Employment Agencies.

    South Somerset District Council is not endorsing these providers, many other Employment Agencies also operate across the district.

    Local Employment Agencies

    Job Centre Support

    The Job Centre will support you into work if you have claimed either Universal Credit (UC) or New Style Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) they will support you with a dedicated Work Coach as you move towards re-employment, in South Somerset we have the following Job Centres:

    Yeovil – Federated House, 29 – 31 Hendford, Yeovil, BA20 1UU

    Telephone: 0845 604 3719

    Textphone: 0845 608 8551

  2. Where can I get advice and support to start a new business?

    The Heart of the South West Growth Hub provides business advice, support and resources to aid you with every aspect of starting your business.

    Somerset Catalyst is a new programme dedicated to giving start-ups and early stage businesses the best chance of success. 

    The government have put together Set up a Business pages to help you consider different elements of starting a business and practical support to make your new business a success and Growing your business to help you consider all aspects of growth for your business.

    The New Enterprise Allowance scheme can provide money and support to help you start your own business if you're receiving certain benefits.

    The National Enterprise Network is a membership based organisation that provides an array of services to pre-start and established small businesses.

    NESTA is an innovation foundation, an independent charity, they offer free innovation toolkits and business start up support for some sectors.

    Somerset Business Agency offers a range of workshops aimed at start-up businesses, many of which are free.  They also run a start-up and grow programme for those looking to launch a business or registered businesses with a Unique Tax Reference (UTR.)

    Chamber of Commerce are local associations that promote and protect the interests of the business community. The Yeovil Chamber of Commerce offers practical support and opportunities to network with other local businesses of all sizes, from all sectors.

    Enterprise Nation have partnered with Amazon to offer the Amazon Small Business Accelerator is a major support package for more than 200,000 small businesses to access online training, expert advice and intensive bootcamps. 

    The package includes: 

    • Free e-learning (online training) for new and existing businesses 
    • Intensive bootcamps for 1,000 offline businesses to start selling online quickly 
    • 12 month free membership to Enterprise Nation 
    • A bundle of business offers worth over £2,000 

    To find out more and sign up please visit https://www.enterprisenation.com/accelerator/

    British Independent Retailers Association (bira) provide some free support, advice and resources to independent businesses. They also offer a range of further services if you chose to become a member.

    British Business Bank offer lots of free support and advice, including free start up guides and business planning templates, with walk through guides on what you will need and how to collect the evidence and data.

    The Prince’s Trust works with 18 to 30-year-olds living in the UK providing support for starting business.

    BusinessWest is a not-for-profit chamber of commerce that provides free resources and workshops to help you explore your business ideas and develop effective plans to help you get started.

    Step Up Somerset has a dedicated area full of information on links to help you with starting a business.

  3. Who can help me to find a training opportunity?

    There is a growing number of work based learning programmes, each providing something slightly different

    Apprenticeships – age 16 and over

    An Apprenticeship provides on the job training and a salary. If you’re 16 or over, you can be an apprentice as long as you live in England and are not in full-time education.

    Depending on the level, apprenticeships take 1 to 5 years to complete. For more information about the apprenticeship programme use this guide, if you would like to find an apprenticeship you can use this tool.

    You may also like to contact Skill Up an Apprenticeship and Skills Advisory Service who can advise you on options and local apprenticeship opportunities.

    Please see the following local apprenticeship providers, who can also provide specialist support:

    Somerset Skills and Learning

    Yeovil College

    Traineeships – age 16-25

    A Traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from 6 weeks up to 1 year (although most will last for less than 6 months).

    Traineeships help 16 to 24 year olds - or 25 year olds with an education, health and care (EHC) plan - get ready for an apprenticeship or job if they don’t have the appropriate skills or experience.

    To find out more use this guide, if you would like to find a traineeship you can use this tool.

    You may also like to contact Skill Up a local advisory service who can advise you on options and local traineeship opportunities.

    Please see the following local traineeship providers, who can also provide specialist support:

    Somerset Skills and Learning

    Training opportunities available when you are in receipt of certain benefits

    Kick Start for people age 16- 24 in receipt of Universal Credit

    The government has invested in creating a new scheme to help young people who may have been at risk of long-term unemployment.  The scheme provides funding for employers to create 6 month placements to help young people learn work related skills and how to apply and interview for jobs. This scheme pays age related national minimum wage for 25 hours per week, so you can earn while you learn. The scheme was launched for employers to register on 2 September, it is hoped the first placements will commence in November, for more information please see Want A Kickstart?

    If you wish to apply you can do this via your Work Coach, remember you need to be in receipt of Universal Credit. You can use this link to find out more about applying for Universal Credit.

    The National Careers Service gives free information, advice and guidance to help you make decisions on learning, training and work. If you prefer to speak to an adviser you can call on 0800 100 900.

  4. Training opportunities available when you are in receipt of certain benefits

    Kick Start for people age 16- 24 in receipt of Universal Credit

    The government has invested in creating a new scheme to help young people who may have been at risk of long-term unemployment.  The scheme provides funding for employers to create 6 month placements to help young people who are in receipt of Universal Credit learn work related skills and how to apply and interview for jobs.  This scheme pays age related national minimum wage for 25 hours per week, so you can earn while you learn. This scheme was launched for employers to register on 2 September, it is hoped the first placements will commence in November, for more information please see Want A Kickstart?

    If you wish to apply you can do this via your Work Coach, remember you need to be in receipt of Universal Credit. You can use this link to find out more about applying for Universal Credit.

    Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) – a new initiative for people 13 weeks unemployed in receipt of Universal Credit or new Style Job Seekers Allowance

    The Job Entry Target Support is a new support scheme that launched on 5 October in response to the Corona virus pandemic. The scheme aims to support individuals who are getting Universal Credit (UC) All Work related Requirements (AWRR) and New Style Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and have been unemployed for at least 13 weeks. The scheme helps to develop realistic job goals and career paths; identifying suitable and achievable steps to realise these goals. Participants will receive tailored quality support to overcome barriers to securing employment in the prevailing local labour market sector conditions, including sign posting to other support available. The Department of Work and Pensions through the Job Centre will help you get the support you need.

    Sector-based Work Academy Placements (SWAPs) – , for people receiving Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

    Sector-based work academy programmes (SWAPs) are an opportunity to learn new skills and get experience of working in a particular industry, for example care, construction or warehouse work.

    The programmes are designed to help jobseekers, who are claiming either Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), to build confidence, improve job prospects and enhance CVs.

    SWAPs last between two and  six weeks, and consist of three parts:

    • Pre-employment training – a short module of vocational training run by a local college or training provider,
    • Work experience with an employer in the industry, where you can learn new skills on the job,
    • At the end of the programme, either a job interview with an employer in the sector or if an interview cannot be offered, help with the application process.

  5. Can I get help to claim benefits?

    Universal Credit is available if you’re on a low income, or without work, it’s a monthly payment to help with your living costs, it has replaced Jobseekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance (income Based, Income Support, Working and Child Tax credits and Housing Benefit, you can see if you’re eligible for this support and make a claim at Gov.uk/UniversalCredit. This step by step guide explains how to claim Universal Credit. If you need to talk to someone, please use the contact telephone and textphone numbers.

    If you need help to claim Citizens Advice South Somerset can help you please use the link to get further information or you can telephone on 0800 144 8444

    'New style' Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is a contribution based benefit that can be ‘topped up’ with Universal Credit, this support benefit is for people who have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work to see if you are eligible and to access a step by step guide to claiming this support please use the link provided.

    ‘New Style’ Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) is a contribution based benefit that can be ‘topped up’ with Universal Credit, this support is for those who have worked as an employee and paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years. National Insurance credits can also count.

    You will not be eligible if you were self-employed and only paid Class 2 National Insurance contributions, unless you were working as a share fisherman or a volunteer development worker, for full details see ‘New Style’ Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)

    Citizens Advice provides helpful information on applying for benefits

    Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support are available to help to pay your rent and reduce your Council Tax payments, please use the link for help on how to apply for these.

  6. How can I find information about local voluntary work?

    Volunteering can provide you with the opportunity to help people and give something back to the local community. Volunteering can also provide you with new knowledge and skills to help you get into work or transfer to a new career.

    To learn more about volunteering and the options that are available please use the links below:

    SPARK Somerset 

    Government giodance - Volunteer

    Do It

  7. Who can help me find out more about further education?

    Skill Up a local advisory service who provide free training advice

    This tool will help you find out what courses and qualifications are available at schools, colleges and sixth forms in your area.

    Information about getting help towards the costs of education if you are age 16-19 is available here and if you are over the age of 19 it is available here.

    Study Up provides advice on how to access the range of degrees, degree apprenticeships, professional qualifications, higher education and courses in Somerset

    Local Colleges:

    Somerset Skills and Learning  

    Yeovil College

    If you wish to talk to someone about your next steps into training please e-mail redundancyhelp@southsomerset.gov.uk and a member of the support team will get back to you in 5 working days, please provide your name and contact details.

  8. Where can I get help to use a computer and the internet?

    Somerset Libraries, provide free public access computers. This includes access to the internet, web-based email, recommended quality internet sites and Microsoft Office applications. Library members can use these computers for up to 2 hours each day. 

    There is also free Wi-Fi for you to use with your own devices at all Somerset Libraries more detailed information is available here

    Somerset Libraries are also providing a free tablet loan service with free internet connection from some of their libraries. Chard Library in South Somerset has 5. If you would like to find out more about borrowing a free device, please see Tablet loaning

    Information about becoming a Somerset Library member is available here.

    Learnmyway has free courses for you to learn how to use a computer device, the internet safely and digital skills Learn how to use the internet.

  9. How can I improve my IT knowledge and skills?

    Somerset Libraries provide free online digital skills courses, with support from library staff during set times.

    The current local offer is detailed below:

    Chard Library – Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am to 12 noon

    Langport Library – Thursday afternoons 2.30pm to 4.30pm

    South Petherton – By appointment only

    Wincanton Library – Monday mornings, 10am to 12 noon

    Yeovil Library – Monday afternoons, 2.30pm to 4.30pm and Wednesday mornings, 10am to 12.30pm

    Positive People provide a free digital toolkit and digital survival kit

    Learn My Way has free courses for you to learn digital skills to stay safe and connected.

    Future Learn are offering free digital skills courses for all levels.

    Barclays Bank provide a free Digital Eagles service and lots of free on-line resources including step-by-step videos to help you develop new skills and grow in confidence about all matter of on-line topics not just related to banking.

    The Heart of The South West Digital Skills Partnership is in partnership with Coursera to offer free help to learn critical skills to succeed in this digital era, find out more here

    Google Digital Garage is providing free digital training & tools to help your career or your business grow stronger.

  10. What support is there to help me gain new knowledge and learn new skills?

    Skill Up a local skills advisory service can help you identify the right training for you to help you get into work, change career or for personal development.

    Step Up provides links to free training, enhancing your skills and career options.

    The Heart of The South West Digital Skills Partnership is in partnership with Coursera to offer free help to learn critical skills to succeed in this digital era, find out more here

    Free Courses in England offer accredited programmes, which are designed to complement employers’ existing in-house training provision and improve each learner’s knowledge and skills by assessing their core competencies against national standards.

    Tech Nation Digital Business Academy, are offering free online business courses to help in the high-tech business sector.

    Information about getting help towards the costs of education if you are age 16-19 is available here and if you are over the age of 19 it is available here.

    The Skillstoolkit promotes free courses to help you learn new skills or change jobs. Including general skills that apply to all sectors and more specialised skills.

    Free learning from the Open University accessible over the internet. A huge number of options from introductory basic courses for new learners with no previous learning experience to advanced specialist courses.

    The Heart of The South West Skills Launchpad Lead on:

    • The delivery of education, employment, skills and learning provision.
    • Employment related activity
    • Skills and Employment for the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
    • Skills priorities in the Heart of the South West LEP

    They are offering free digital and technical bootcamps in a wide range of areas that are projected to be resilient to the economic downturn, on course completion you will be offered an interview with recruiting businesses in the local enterprise region.

  11. Who can give me redundancy support and advice?

    A website full of information about redundancy rights is available from .gov

    Citizens Advice is a charity offering free impartial advice, they have lots of free useful information and advice to help you manage whilst going through redundancy and to prepare for your next steps

    Citizens Advice Somerset can help provide support and advice you can contact them via:

    Website : www.citizensadvicesomerset.org.uk/redundancy-support/ this provides an online form for e-mail contact and facilities to seek advice via WhatsApp

    Tel: 0808 278 7428 Monday – Friday 10.00 am to 4.00 pm

    Step Up Somerset provides access to many free support services to help you navigate redundancy.

    South Somerset District Council work with a redundancy task force to:

    • Assist local business with their business transformation programmes by identifying the forms of assistance and training that could help to diversify or sustain business operations in South Somerset.
    • Identify and deliver appropriate skills training programmes to the local workforce during the transitional phase(s) to support the business and prepare employees for developing roles and transitions to new roles.

    Where the transformation programme includes employee redundancies the task force can

    • Provide a timely programme of activity to support employees through the transition phases. This activity will include support on health and wellbeing, benefits, debt advice and seeking new training and employment opportunities in sectors that will offer long-term employment prospects and careers to mitigate worklessness and minimise the impact on employees and the local economy.
    • Organise recruitment fairs with local employers and recruitment agencies who can effectively utilise the employee skill base to help other local, similar business and industry to be sustainable and grow.

  12. What can I do if I am worried?

    If you’re worried about your next steps into training or employment, please e-mail redundancyhelp@southsomerset.gov.uk and a member of the support team will get back to you in 2 working days, please provide your name and contact details.

    It’s okay not to be okay, there may be times when you need some extra support to deal with a situation. It’s OK to ask for help. Please see below dedicated helpline services that are there to support you.

    Mindline Somerset - 01823 276 892 Confidential emotional support, information and guidance. Open 24/7.

    CALM Helpline for men - 0800 58 58 58 5pm – Midnight

    Samaritans - 116 123 Whatever your problems. Open 24/7

    Age UK Somerset - Friendly phone calls service - 01823 345 610 (Mon-Fri 9- 4pm)

    Young Somerset’s wellbeing service offers mental health and emotional support to young people aged up to 18 call 01278 722100 or E-mail admin@youngsomerset.org.uk

    Somerset Talking Therapies provides a wide range of support for people 18 and over. Call 0300 323 00 33 to book yourself in for an Emotional Health Check  with one of the team or you can access a library of self-help guides.

    Young Somerset virtual hubs - This is a safe online space designed for young people and parents/ guardians to find out about what services are available in your area.  Workshops every week providing professional advice and guidance on how to maintain positive wellbeing.

  13. Where can I get financial support and advice?

  14. Can I get help towards to cost of my rent?

    If you are struggling to pay your rent, you can apply for Universal Credit , this is available if you’re on a low income, or without work, it’s a monthly payment to help with your living costs, it has replaced Jobseekers Allowance and Employment Support Allowance (income Based, Income Support, Working and Child Tax credits and Housing Benefit, you can see if you’re eligible for this support and make a claim at Gov.uk/UniversalCredit. This step by step guide explains how to claim Universal Credit. If you need to talk to someone, please use the contact telephone and textphone numbers.

    If you need help to apply for Universal Credit Citizens Advice South Somerset can help you please use the link to get further information or you can telephone on 0800 144 8444

    We recommend that you always contact your landlord so they are aware of your situation, you may be able to make a new payment schedule. This is a useful factsheet about Universal Credit for landlords and letting agents

    The following housing associations have dedicated staff to help you apply for financial help to pay for rent and to support you looking for alternative or new employment, if you are a tenant with these landlord please click the links to make contact and access this support.

    Abri (previously Yarlington homes) – HelloYarlington@abri.co.uk or call 01935 404500 or use the customer portal - myyarlington.co.uk

    Stonewater -  Jolene.walker@stonewater.org or call, text or WhatsApp 07768324037

    LiveWest – Income.teamnorth@livewest.co.uk or call 01934 526445

  15. Can I get any discount and support to reduce my Council Tax?

    Council Tax Support is to help households on low incomes. 

    Visit our Council Tax Support page

  16. Can I get help to manage money and debt?

    Citizens Advice South Somerset offer free help and support about managing money and debt.

    Phone: 03444889623 / 01935 421167.

    Email‎: ‎cab@southsomcab.org.uk

    The Money Advice Service was set up by the Government to provide free and impartial money advice

    Step Change provide debt advice and free debt management assistance

    Phone: 0800 138 1111

  17. What if I am struggling with living costs?

    Citizens Advice offer advice about getting help with your living costs.

    If you’re struggling to pay your essential living costs and can’t afford your repayments, contact the Department of Work and Pensions Debt Management contact centre.

    Telephone: 0800 916 0647

    Textphone: 0800 916 0651

    Monday to Friday, 8am to 7.30pm

    Saturday, 9am to 4pm

    Calls to these numbers are free.

  18. How can I reduce my energy bills?

    The Energy Saving Trust offer free advice to reduce energy bills.

Thank you. You response is appreciated.

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