One of the key achievements of the OWEN Project has been the employment support mechanisms put in place for people over the age of 45 within the East Riding of Yorkshire Council local authority area. By the end of June 2007 (closure of Action 2) OWEN has supported approximately 235 individuals giving them over 1,662 hours of support.
- 100% of the beneficiaries attended an IAS (Information, Advice and Support session)
- 13% had a one-to-one session with a member of the OWEN team. This involved interview preparation, CV assistance and application vetting
- 43% attended a CV and Application Form workshop run in-house by the OWEN team
- 22% attended an Interview Skills workshop run in-house by the OWEN Team
- 12% undertook IT training through the project with Learndirect
- 4% attended Higher Education modules at the University of Hull @ Scarborough, Centre for Lifelong Learning
- The beneficiary case work shows there is demand for a one-to-one service like OWEN
- OWEN has placed 87 beneficiaries into new employment through the course of Action 2.
Another successful outcome has been the involvement of the Advisory Group. A group of volunteers (12 beneficiaries) formed in Action 1 and began working on a concept to provide a recruitment agency for people over the age of 45. A business plan was produced and market research was undertaken. This group found employment and they disbanded early 2006.
A second group was formed in September 2006 by four volunteers and became involved in the Social Enterprise Humber project. The Advisory Group (AG) worked towards becoming a non-profit recruitment agency specialising in supporting older workers. OWEN provided meeting rooms and office facilities to support them in their development and funding for any training that would support them in this area. The AG secured a grant and loan funding through the Social Enterprise project and is now a constituted business (On2Work). Partnership agreements were put in place for the continuation of involvement after the OWEN delivery ended in June 2007 so the lead body can continue to exchange information, referrals and support their development.
The lead partner is able to continue the work achieved through the OWEN service on the new MORE Programme (Making Opportunities Realistic for Everyone) in which a new OWEN initiative is running until 2009 funded by Yorkshire Forward (YF).
All of the good practice and lessons learnt through the Equal OWEN have been disseminated to the new project team and the monitoring and evaluation systems have been mainstreamed within the OWEN YF project. The OWEN website will be maintained (www.owenproject.co.uk) and will continue to be used both as a resource for the target group (45+) and as a communications tool for advertising all forthcoming events and workshops on the homepage.
The new Yorkshire Forward initiative has empowered the existing OWEN team and brought new energy and expansion to the OWEN service as individuals can now be supported across the whole of the Humber region. During OWEN there were large referral numbers from the Hull and Humber region but previously they were unable to receive assistance.
Another key achievement of the OWEN Project has been the OWEN website (www.owen.project.co.uk). This was designed in-house by a member of the OWEN team between March and September 2005.
The focus of this website was to be an interactive resource for the target group although it can be used for employment advice and support by any age in any location. The website was launched at the UK Transnational Age Discrimination conference at Tickton Grange in November 2005. It has been used as an example of good working practice for other departments within the local authority and was nominated for an award last year.
Up to the end of June 2007 the website has received nearly 5,000 hits and continues to be developed within the team. Referrals are still received through the E-Form ‘Tell us about you’ and feedback continues to be captured on the issues surrounding age discrimination and the new age regulations.