Jobseekers continue to get a foot on the career ladder thanks to a successful work experience programme delivered by Staffordshire County Council.
Thirty nine year old Chris Boote is the latest person to benefit from the Open-Door programme, having secured a job as a Technical Support Officer at the local authority.
After working for 15 years within resourcing, Chris decided that he needed a career change and had an inkling that he might want to try his hand at civil engineering. It was following a chance conversation with a Senior Highways Engineer at the county council who explained what the work involved and told him about the Open-Door programme, that he put his plan into place.
After contacting the programme team, Chris started an initial 12 week placement, increasing to 24 weeks with the Sustainable Development Team at the council. Shortly after this and armed with six months of experience and knowledge, Chris managed to secure a full time job when a vacancy became available in the department.
Talking about his experience, Chris said: “I had known for a few years that I wanted to change career and had started taking steps towards this. The only thing was that I didn’t have any experience in the field I was interested in but that’s where Open-Door stepped in.
“The work placement was great. It was very well organised and meant I was able to learn about the many different aspects of civil engineering. I gained a valuable insight into the various stages of the highways planning and works process. I spent time on site at new roads and bridges and time in the labs understanding how different approaches work. I also spent time with other council departments, including the flood risk team, to understand how different construction projects impact on the environment.
“I would absolutely recommend the programme to others. As a mature worker changing into a new career, it can be hard to gain experience in a new field but if you are willing and have the courage to make that change, the Open-Door programme really does provide the opportunity to gain experience or to see if that career really is for you. I’m really enjoying my job and I’d like to thank everyone involved.”
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Philip White, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills at Staffordshire County Council said: “This is another great example of how our Open-Door programme can help people get the work experience to help them change career or find work. Helping improve people’s skills remains a priority for the county council and means that they’ll be in a better position to take advantage of the better skilled jobs in the future. Open Door is an important part of that process and I wish Chris the best of luck in his new career.”
The programme offers candidates a voluntary, tailored work experience placement, within a wide variety of job roles to suit the career they are looking for. It’s available to anyone over 18 and focuses on helping people who face difficulties and barriers in finding work. This could include people with disabilities, mental health issues, ex-offenders, children leaving care, school leavers and graduates.”
For further information on the Open-Door Staffordshire programme contact 01785 854486 or email: email@example.com