Job support team ready for action

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Here to help . . . The Dunedin-based Workbridge team, (from left) team leader Mandy Johnstone and employment consultants Leisa pierson, Nicole McNutt and Stephen Baker, are ready and willing to help job seekers and employers connect. Absent: Sue Bragg. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Employment support organisation Workbridge is gearing up to be busier than ever, as people whose work has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic reach out for help.

Dunedin-based Workbridge team leader Mandy Johnstone said the not-for-profit specialist employment service, which works with people with all types of disability, injury or illness, had continued to provide services remotely during lockdown.

The five Dunedin-based and two Oamaru-based Workbridge employment consultants had worked from home throughout Alert Levels 4 and 3, helping clients to prepare for employment and connecting them with employers.

“We were able to help some people into employment under Level 3, which was positive,” Ms Johnstone said.

Now restrictions were easing, the team was back in the Workbridge centre in Princes St and preparing to re-engage face to face with job seekers and employers.

“This is a shoutout to people that we are available and ready to work with them, however they feel comfortable.

“Our job is to help people to prepare for employment, assist with placement, and to provide ongoing support over 12 months, as they settle in to their new role.”

Ms Johnstone said the team was also keen to connect with people experiencing anxiety, stress or other mental health issues who might have found themselves unemployed during this period of uncertainty.

“There are many triggers for anxiety, and losing your job would have a major impact.”

Workbridge was also available to work with employers, and could provide advice to businesses facing the issue of redundancies, or who might be looking for staff, she said.

The free Government-funded Workbridge employment consultancy service is available to a broad range of people, and anyone can approach the organisation for a confidential chat. This can be done through the website, in person, or by phoning 0508858-858.

It also administers Support Funds, a government fund which provides a range of supports to disabled people in training, or employment, and to employers.

Working through 22 service centres nationwide, Workbridge employment consultants support 1500 people into work every year.