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Performing arts boost for unemployed residents

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UNEMPLOYED Copeland residents have used performing arts to boost their confidence and job prospects.

Fourteen residents took part in a series of fun and inspirational activities based on a performing arts theme, designed and led by actor and voiceover artist Lucianne McEvoy.

Copeland Work and Skills Partnership organised the session, in conjunction with hosts Rosehill Theatre, to trial a new way of developing pre-employment support.

Participants learned a range of techniques usually associated with the performing arts that can be used in an employment situation, including using communication and body stances to improve confidence and purpose, breathing effectively in order to remain calm, developing trust and listening skills, and taking control and feeling confident to boost self-esteem.

The feedback received by the organisers was extremely positive, with participants commenting on boosts to their confidence and creativity.

Chris Pickles, Copeland’s Work and Skills Programme Officer, said: “As part of the Work and Skills Programme, we have the opportunity to pilot different activities that support out of work individuals to become work ready and compete for local jobs.  

“We wanted to explore this opportunity as we are aware the techniques used in the world of performing arts are easily transferable and could  help other people who are in different situations.”

Richard Elder, Director of Rosehill Theatre, added: “We were delighted to arrange this pilot event in partnership with the Copeland Work and Skills Partnership. The engagement from those attending was encouraging, as was their feedback and their wish to do more.

“We are making plans to follow up on it soon, developing a programme that is informed by and alongside those involved, meeting their immediate and longer-term needs first and foremost.

“Work of this sort is an increasingly important part of Rosehill’s purpose and relevance to the West Cumbrian community, using performing arts for personal development.”

Residents joined the session through referral by the DWP and Groundworks (Choices), both Work and Skills Partnership members. Representatives of other partnership members PEC, Inspira and All Together Cumbria also joined the session. Participants now aim to establish a group to continue their development.

The Copeland Work and Skills Programme is run by Copeland Council and is jointly funded by Copeland Community Fund and Sellafield Ltd. The Rosehill session was developed as part of the Bespoke Work Support workstream, and other workstreams include employer subsidies for apprentices, employer wage subsidies and tailored recruitment.

For more information contact Chris Pickles on 01946 598326 or chris.pickles@copeland.gov.uk.