Organisers of a successful East Sussex recruitment fair are on the road again – this time heading to Bexhill.

With the support of the county council, Eastbourne employability charity People Matter is hosting one of its Moving on Up jobs fair for the Rother area in February.

The event takes place at The Pelham in Bexhill on Tuesday, February 6, and follows on from successful shows in Eastbourne, Hailsham and Newhaven.

East Sussex County Council created the Moving on Up project in September, 2021, when the Covid pandemic had led to increased homelessness and the ESTAR team – part of the Employment and Skills Team at the Council – recognised the link between housing, health and employment.

The project helps those furthest from employment or in low paid work, and specifically, anyone affected by homelessness or at risk of losing their home.

Participant of the scheme have access to one-to-one mentoring, including support with housing, job searching, confidence building, employability skills and support in accessing training.

Alongside this are financial incentives – a training bursary paid via the employer for on-going skills development, an amount for interview clothes or transport costs and also a rental incentive. The rental incentive supports a participant to move into the private rental market and is often used to pay the first month’s rent and deposit.

In addition, project partners such as People Matter provide tailored services matching job seekers with employers and helping them to access relevant training.

East Sussex currently has many job vacancies in the visitor economy, construction and health and social care, as well as in emerging areas such as insulation, ground source heating, forestry or cyber-security.

CEO of People Matter, Ann Gillard said: “Like other towns, Bexhill and the Rother area has had to think differently about who will take those jobs that are proving difficult to fill, particularly since Brexit and the pandemic.

“There are also lots of people who aren’t currently working but really want to work, who just need a little support with taking their first steps into these roles. Some of these people have experienced challenges with housing, offending, health and sometimes, because of this, they can be overlooked by employers. Many lack confidence – but this needn’t be the case.

“We are asking our local employers to actively consider recruiting from this pool of enthusiastic and capable people – and asking people who have faced challenges and are nervous of moving into work for the first time, or back into work after a period of absence, to come and find out about the support that they can be given through the Moving on Up programme to help them access great opportunities to earn and move forward with an exciting and positive future.”

Since it began, the Moving on Up project has worked with more than 150 local and national employers and secured 102 job outcomes. The programme has also helped more than 30 people to secure rented accommodation.

Moving on Up was initially funded by the Department of Health and Social Care’s Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF) but now also includes funding from Public Health and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund via Eastbourne, Lewes, Rother and Wealden Councils.

Cllr Bob Standley, lead member for education and inclusion, special educational needs and disability at East Sussex County Council, said: “Overseen by ESCC’s ESTAR team, Moving on Up is an excellent example of partnership working between local authorities and our community sector partners.

“The project is supporting people affected by homelessness and other challenges and has made great strides towards our goal of improving employability skills across the county. ESCC will continue to work collaboratively to help people move through temporary and supported accommodation and into the private rental market and crucially, employment.’’

More information about Bexhill jobs fair on the People Matter website.

Photo caption: Employers meeting job-seekers at a previous Moving On Up jobs fair.

ESTAR is an East Sussex County Council team, within the Employment and Skills team. The overall objective is to support people to upskill and to enable those with barriers to employment to access the most suitable and local pre-employment support. Its work also includes refugees and Ukrainian guest.