A trail-blazing scheme which helps people stay in training and work has been extended to help the region’s fightback against the COVID-19 pandemic
Working Win, which offers dedicated coaching and training to help people with health issues to stay in work for longer, is being extended until March 2021. A further 450 people will be supported during the extension.
Mayor Dan Jarvis welcomed the £500,000 funding boost, and called on the Government to back an ambitious scale-up of the scheme to help more people stay in work and help South Yorkshire build back better from COVID by responding to the needs of those affected.
In South Yorkshire, participants reported interviews and job offers being withdrawn, as well as increased mental and physical health problems. Working Win support will give people who are struggling with the confidence and support they need to return to work and help people to stay in work that matches their strengths and interests.
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis said: “More than 30,000 extra people applied for Universal Credit in South Yorkshire as the COVID pandemic hit our region. We must do everything we can to help people stay in or find work. Working Win is a crucial part of our Renewal Action Plan to support jobs and businesses in South Yorkshire and deliver a jobs-led recovery from COVID-19.
“Working Win shows the power of devolution and how, with the right resources and tools at our disposal, we can make a big difference to people’s lives, unlocking opportunities for workers and businesses.
“I warmly welcome this extension, but we should not limit our ambition. As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, I’m calling on Government to back our South Yorkshire Works jobs and training programme, including a significant scale up of Working Win so we can build a stronger, greener and fairer economy in our region.”
James Muir, Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Mayor and the LEP are working with business to address the immediate challenges presented by COVID, and we know that keeping people with health issues in work is a major challenge which has been magnified during the pandemic.
“Fifteen million days of work a year are lost due to stress, anxiety and depression alone. This leads to businesses losing output and profits and causes reduced quality of life and damages career prospects for individuals. Working Win can help by supporting existing employees who are struggling or off sick due to a mental or physical health condition. This brings benefits to them, to businesses and to the wider community. I encourage all affected individuals and employers to register for this invaluable support.”
Lisa Berry, Working Win participant, said: “Working Win helped me with a disclosure letter for my employer so they could see what was wrong and understand what changes were needed to make working life easier for me. I was also given advice on how to approach conversations at work. I wouldn’t have kept my job over the past two years without this help.”
The Working Win Health-led Employment Trial was a randomised control trial until October 2020, meaning people who took part were randomly placed into one of two research groups. One group received the new service, the other group were provided with information about existing services in their area. During the extension period up to 31 March 2021, everyone will be given Working Win support.