West Berkshire Council

Employment Support Programmes

Support available for unemployed adults needing help getting into work or staying in work

Steps to Work Mentoring Network

The Steps to Work Mentoring Network is a group of organisations in West Berkshire who are working together to help promote and support high quality mentoring for those who face challenges in accessing work and staying in work. Current membership includes: Sovereign South and West, Two Saints, AWE and West Berkshire Council. Five mentors have been recruited and further training will be running throughout 2014.

How mentoring can help you get ready for learning or work

One to one time with a mentor can help:

  • provide structure and support to enable, empower and support you to make the right changes in your life,
  • encourage self-belief and self-confidence, and develop practical skills.
  • raise awareness of new opportunities and choices.

What happens in the network?

The network is an informal collaboration between organisations and actively welcomes new members. They meet once every two months to share information, ideas and to plan and review activities such as training and guidance.

Join the Network by emailing stepstowork@westberks.gov.uk for further details.

Become a mentor by emailing your request to stepstowork@westberks.gov.uk.

Receive mentoring support either through one of the member organisations listed above or phone the Family Resource Service on 01635 43639.

PROGRESS! Programme in West Berkshire

The PROGRESS! Programme provides one-to-one and family support for those seeking work. The Buck Project delivers the programme, which is funded by the European Social Fund. The programme is running until June 2014 and aims to work with 148 individuals altogether.

How can PROGRESS! help me?

PROGRESS! provides a personal coach who works one-to-one with unemployed customers to:

  • develop personal confidence and skills helping you tackle some of the problems which might be keeping your life on hold
  • enrol onto a college course that interests you
  • start training for a job you are interested in and gain a recognised qualification
  • get experience through voluntary work
  • gain lasting employment.

Taking part in PROGRESS! is part-time, voluntary and will not affect benefits. You will have a PROGRESS! plan with specific goals and steps to achieving them. Taking steps to education, training and work are important but PROGRESS! can help with other practical things that are getting in the way of families being able to make changes - such as dealing with housing, debt and other issues.

Who can take part in the PROGRESS! programme?

The scheme is open to any adult over 18 years of age who is claiming some form of out-of-work benefit. If an adult gets on to the scheme then other members of their family who live in the south-east region can also take part. You cannot take part if you are on the Work Programme. If you think you might need support from PROGRESS! please contact them.

How to refer someone to PROGRESS!

Fill out the doc icon PROGRESS! referral form [81kb] and email it to Brad Buck on brad@buckproject.org, who will check your eligibility through Job Centre Plus.

Once confirmed, the information is sent to a local PROGRESS! coach who will make contact with the referred adult and the referrer. If you are a referrer, it's a good idea to talk through your referral with one of the local coaches to ensure good links are established and the coach's work enhances rather than duplicates the work of other services.

If you are not part of West Berkshire Council before you make a referral you need to complete the doc icon Referral Agreement [261kb] and .