RESIDENTS in St Helens will receive increased support to find work after almost £4m in funding was secured to deliver a number of ambitious local projects. 

On Wednesday, January 12, the council launched St Helens Pathways to Employment to offer additional support at least 610 residents in the town, as well as local businesses and organisations, through employment and training opportunities. 

Working with a range of partners and council services such as St Helens Mind and Teardrops, the main purpose of St Helens Pathway to Employment is to make the route into employment, education and training easier for all - in particular those with complex needs.

The project will work closely with the council’s Ways to Work programme which recently received a funding boost of £1.9m from the Combined Authority, and has engaged more than 2,600 residents into work since its inception in 2016.

Following the success of Ways to Work, a dedicated walk-in careers centre opened in the town centre last summer to offer support local people through mentoring, coaching, advice, guidance, and job searching – with a similar facility expected to open in Earlestown in early Spring. 

One St Helens resident who has benefitted from this programme is single mum of three Gemma, who contacted the service after struggling with which area of work she wanted to move into. 

After some initial meetings and discussions, Gemma pursued a six-week placement to build up her CV with local housing provider, Torus, who subsequently offered Gemma a job after she impressed during this short period.

Gemma said: "The Ways to Work team provide you with such good advice and really make you think about making the right decisions for yourself - they don’t pressure you into certain opportunities.

"I got help from the Ways to Work team with the [job] application and they also helped me with interview techniques and advice.

"I was able to get the [Torus] job and started in November 2020, which is amazing to achieve so soon after receiving support. I couldn’t have done it without them.” 

St Helens Chamber has also been allocated more than £600,000 from the Liverpool City Region to engage with local businesses, schools and other partners to ensure local people have the skills needed to create clean and green growth in our area - further strengthening our advanced manufacturing sectors.

This project is hoped to inspire future generations to see how they can gain careers in this growing sector and inspire them to pursue higher levels of skills training to provide a future, green workforce.  

Welcoming the reports, Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Business, said:  

“We’re incredibly proud of the direct positive impact that employment and training initiatives like our Ways to Work programme have had in assisting residents to find work, and there are many real-life examples similar to Gemma’s story.

"I’m delighted that our support offer will be further strengthened through these projects which will help us deliver the aspirations set out in the St Helens Economic Reset and Recovery Plan.    

“The St Helens Pathways to Employment project will invest in local businesses to help them create jobs; develop volunteering opportunities as a first step on the path to employment; and invest in skills to ensure the borough’s workforce is ready for the opportunities of the future."

For more information on the Ways to Work programme, visit, email or call 01744 676131.