Opportunity North Somerset is run by the council as a one-stop-shop for services and organisations that can help residents find and secure work, increase skills, develop careers, start a new business, achieve professional goals, or help take their first steps back towards work.
Opportunity North Somerset is funded by the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) until March 2025 and is available to anyone aged 18 and over living in North Somerset who is not in paid work, including refugees. It can help tackle any individual barriers to employment and skills residents may face and provide free and independent support and advice.
To access employment and skills support, complete a short self-assessment form that will be reviewed and directed to North Somerset Council’s skills advisors. They will then be in touch to complete a more in-depth needs assessment, ultimately offering a free, impartial referral service to one of Opportunity North Somerset’s partners.
From job seeking and redundancy, to accessing training and exploring a new role, North Somerset Council recognises the need to support and guide residents through the process. Skills advisors will offer bespoke support to individuals throughout, tracking progress against training and learning opportunities and advising on next steps.
Opportunity North Somerset can also provide great knowledge of local provision and link residents with skills providers, including:
- Empower (Weston College) – employment support for those with learning difficulties
- Moving Up North Somerset (Weston College) – a large employment support package helping three groups – NEET young people, economically inactive individuals, and people in work who want support to progress their careers
- Aftercare Service (Broadway Lodge) – employability support for those recovering from addiction
- Women’s Work Lab – support for women to return to work after a period of childcare
- Step Forward (VANS) – volunteering programme
- the hive
- Job Centre plus
- Salvation Army
- Community Learning
- Curo – Community Connect Service for people over the age of 50
- National Careers Service
- North Somerset Training
- Adult Social Care
Opportunity North Somerset also works to provide free online resources covering:
- Employment Support
- Career development and progression
- Youth employment and wellbeing
- Apprenticeship and work experience opportunities
- Digital Service Access
- Business Start-Up Guidance
- Redundancy Support & Current Vacancies
- Wellbeing support services
Opportunity North Somerset can also help businesses looking to recruit through promoting vacant job roles to the network. Please get in touch here for more information.
Councillor Mark Canniford, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member for Placemaking and Economy, said: “North Somerset Council is committed to supporting residents who may want to change career direction, increase their skillset, get back into work or are going through difficult times such as unemployment or redundancy. Thanks to funding from UKSPF, we can offer dedicated advisors to help those looking to get back into work, change careers or learn new skills. I would urge those eligible to sign up today and make use of the wide range of free opportunities available.”
Councillor Catherine Gibbons, North Somerset Council’s Executive Member responsible for Lifelong Learning, said: “The re-launch of Opportunity North Somerset thanks to UKSPF funding will help to ensure our residents are given the best chance possible to succeed in developing skills for the future. It is so valuable to be able to provide bespoke help to local residents and businesses to ensure North Somerset continues to thrive as a great place to live and work.”
For more information about the UKSPF programme in North Somerset, visit innorthsomerset.co.uk/ukspf.