One Front Door: supporting Bristolians into work or training

Councillor Asher Craig, smiling, with trees in the background.
This guest blog is from Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor for Children Services, Education, and Equalities and Labour Councillor for St George West ward.

This week at Cabinet we invested another almost £700,000 in One Front Door, our employment support service. Led by the Employment, Skills and Learning team, we will continue to fill gaps in employment support, enabling us to help many more people and businesses in the city.

From the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, we have been strengthening our citywide partnerships and employer networks to provide this vital service. Helping local people start work for the first time, get back into employment or to begin apprenticeships and other work-based qualifications.

The One Front Door service has given people much needed access to training opportunities, personalised advice, practical help from careers coaches as well as offering guidance to employers to help them network and fill their vacancies.

Since starting, One Front Door has helped over 700 local people with help tailored to their needs. This includes 218 people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, 94 young people aged 18-24, 144 people over 50, 155 people with mental health issues, 11 care leavers, and 40 homeless people. In addition to this, over a hundred laptops have been given out through our digital inclusion scheme to help people train and apply for jobs. With over 28 job fairs taking place and the team attending over 53 other events, support has spread all over Bristol, providing thousands of local people with links to potential employers, resulting in over 1,500 job interviews and 700 jobs.

The Lord Mayor is pictured, in the middle of staff from One Front Door. They are at a campaign event at the galleries.

An example of someone who has worked with the service is Iryna. She arrived here from Ukraine and is one of 82 Ukrainian refugees who have registered with One Front Door. She found out about the support offered at a Ukrainian hub in the city and worked with one of our career progression coaches to find employment. Together they reviewed her CV and went through various courses, apprenticeships and events of interest. Iryna went to local job fairs to talk directly to employers, and also helped other attendees on the day by translating for them. Following the support and guidance she received from the team, Iryna has now started working at Co-Op and is receiving further support from our Future Bright programme (providing in-work support) to develop her career further. Iryna was also referred to Wheels for Work which has helped her with travel costs getting to work.

One Front Door also works in tandem with Ways2Work, where employers and training providers keep us up to date with all the opportunities that are currently available so we can share them with the hundreds of people already linked into our network. If you would like to join them, you can sign up to receive the emails on our website.

The success of the service so far has made a real difference and we are happy that unemployment levels have fallen in the city overall, but we still need to do more. This additional grant funding, secured from the combined authority, will help us focus efforts on our more disadvantaged communities and on people directly and disproportionately impacted by the current cost of living crisis.

Bristol's Lord Mayor is pictured cutting ribbon for the launch of One Front Door.

One great addition and new for 2023 is Bristol Launchpad, based on the ground floor of the Galleries. This new facility provides a one-stop-shop for anyone in Bristol looking for jobs, training or to become self-employed. Through a partnership of Bristol City Council, City of Bristol College, the Department of Work and Pensions, and the National Careers Service, you can access meeting rooms, hot desks and training facilities to help make your dreams of getting the perfect job, or running your own business, a reality. If you could benefit from a chat with the team, give them a call on 0117 9223440 or fill out an online form at the bottom of the One Front Door website to contact one of our career coaches