A laptop library to help jobseekers

20th October 2020

The National Lottery Coronavirus Community Support Fund has awarded Work Avenue a grant of just over £8,000 to create a laptop library as part of the Work Avenue Digital Skills Programme.

As the Jewish community’s leading employment and business support organisation, Work Avenue is responding to a need after noticing some of the jobseekers they help, are unable to access their its virtual support services, training programmes, and employment opportunities due to a lack of access to a computer.

The grant enables Work Avenue to purchase and loan out 15 laptops to its job-seeking community to use for online training workshops and seminars, Zoom advice sessions with their team of employment and business advisers, help with CV creation and job searches. Additionally, digital skills programmes are available to support people, whatever their ability and experience, to improve their technology skills for use in today’s work environment.

Work Avenue CEO Debbie Sheldon said: “Our community asked for this project and we are delighted to be launching it shortly. So many of our jobseekers told our team of employment advisers that they find it difficult to upskill or find work because they don’t have access to a computer.

“This became particularly evident during lockdown. In some instances, families had one phone, which was being used as a computer by their children to access school classes, leaving the adults little usage.

“Providing a laptop library to our clients will be transformative, especially for people who are vulnerable, such as those who are shielding, suffer from poor mental health, or those with specific learning difficulties. These laptops are a crucial resource that will help to bridge the digital divide and open up new training and employment opportunities.

“While the idea for this project was born during lockdown, its lifetime and impact will exceed these immediately challenging times.”

Demand for Work Avenue’s services has intensified in 2020, particularly from those needing extra support due to redundancy.

This project is due to launch in the next few weeks. Thanks to the Government for making this possible.