New Futures Edinburgh: Reskilling support for people impacted by Covid-19

By Joe Mountford-Smith, New Futures Coordinator Edinburgh, Capital City Partnership


22 03 2023


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New Futures Edinburgh is delivering high-quality careers advice and coaching, aligned to local labour market opportunities, to support people to reskill into new careers. Following an analysis of existing provisions available for career changers in the Edinburgh region, Capital City Partnership identified a gap in the support available for individuals who:

  • Needed support on how to manage change as a result of Covid-19, including changes to employment status, salary adjustments and the financial impact of being furloughed throughout the pandemic;
  • Have outdated skillsets;
  • Lack understanding of viable career pathways and how to enter them;
  • Need skills planning and careers advice;
  • Need an accessible service, regardless of their employment status.

Therefore the three key facets to pilot delivery are:

  • Careers advice – Qualified careers advisors work with participants to develop bespoke action plans, outlining their aspirations and interests and reflecting on their existing skills and experience.
  • Vocational training – Free sector-specific training across a wide variety of industries allows participants to gain recognised qualifications in a new sector, alongside the opportunity to interview with a recruiting employer.
  • In-work support – Participants benefit from ongoing, tailored advice and support for up to six months to help them retain employment and progress in their new role.

Flexibility is key for many participants looking for support, and New Futures Edinburgh is accessible across the City of Edinburgh, Midlothian, East Lothian and West Lothian, with several accessible office locations and online appointments available depending on what suits the individual.  This flexibility allows people who have other commitments including childcare, training and jobs to meet somewhere that suits them, enabling them to build careers support into their schedule.

New Futures Edinburgh has so far supported:

  • Over 50 people to complete vocational training courses, with qualifications including Children and Young People: Process of Play (SCQF Level 5), Working with IT Software – Word Processing and Presenting Information (SCQF Level 6) and Understanding Business (SCQF Level 6).
  • 30 people to start a new job, including Business Analyst with Derisk 360, Senior Customer Advisor with Lloyds and Medical Receptionist with the NHS.

One of the first participants on New Futures Edinburgh, Ezhilarasi, was working part-time in retail and as a mother of two young children had really struggled throughout the pandemic; with periods of isolation and childcare responsibilities impacting on her ability to work. Ezhilarasi had so much to offer, with a wide-ranging skillset, but she was looking for employment that would better support her family and long-term goals. With the support of a careers advisor, Ezhilarasi was able to find new sources of suitable vacancies, understand more about job application processes and interviews, and grow in confidence and momentum with her job search. Ezhilarasi subsequently found a vacancy in the Tech industry with a data analytics and artificial intelligence start-up, Derisk 360, and was successful in her application and interview, starting her Business Analyst role towards the end of 2022. She is now employed full time in a job where she can work remotely and provide stable financial support for her family.

After Ezhilarasi started her new job, a New Futures careers advisor identified specialist online training to support her development and increase her confidence in the digital marketing and social media aspect of her new role.

“New Futures has been an absolute game-changer for me during my job search and career development journey. Their guidance and expertise has been invaluable in helping me secure a job in the technology sector in Edinburgh. As a mother of two young children, I needed a job that would support my family, and New Futures provided me with the necessary tools and knowledge to make that happen. Their personalized approach, one-on-one sessions, and training programmes gave me the confidence and skills I needed to navigate the job market and stand out from other job applicants. Thanks to their support, I was able to secure a job in my dream industry, and I am beyond grateful.”

Ezhilarasi is one of many career changers in the Edinburgh region who has benefitted from careers advice to guide her towards her goals, and we are looking forward to supporting many more people like her to achieve their potential. Establishing the long-term impact on participants who have progressed into jobs and reskilled will inform the development of future services and benefit new participants. The implementation of a new website, Helix, to support both job seekers and employers is just one example of the legacy of New Futures Edinburgh, and we are excited about this model’s potential to empower different client groups going forward.

By Joe Mountford-Smith, New Futures Coordinator in Edinburgh, Capital City Partnership

Learning and Work Institute’s flagship programme, New Futures, is supporting workers who are looking to change career and reskill as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This work is funded by the Covid-19 Support Fund. We are working with partners across the UK to deliver place-based pilots in Edinburgh, Belfast, Wales and Tees Valley.