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Service for jobless in Devizes closes down
Vocation Quest, the Devizes organisation set up to get unemployed people back into work, has closed as a result of the Government’s Work Programme.
Founder and chief executive Sue Jordan said that the organisation had had its day and was not in tune with the Coalition’s ethos of ‘work or else’.
She said: “When VQ first opened in June 2009 at the height of the unemployment crisis, I identified a need for a job club where people could come together to access support, to be valued for just who they are and a platform from which to discover their true talent.
“It morphed into other services created by the needs identified by members of VQ: coaching one-to-one and workshops. And then we made partnership agreements and sold services to other agencies when we later became a Community Interest Company.”
Dozens of companies and organisations came on board, including Gaiger Brothers, Barefoot Signs, Wiltshire College, The Grist Group, Devizes Sports Club and Wadworth brewery. The job club was held at the Devizes branch of Wiltshire College.
But when, in January, the Government’s Work Programme came in, there was a sea change which, claims Ms Jordan, had an adverse effect on people joining VQ.
She said: “We had more people coming that were ‘told’ to attend VQ by other agencies, which changed the dynamics of the club and had the result of forcing out those that really came because they wanted to. They wanted to find work.”
The job club came to an end in May though the workshops have continued.
But now Ms Jordan says it is time to bring down the curtain on a brave experiment.
She said: “I want to thank all those who sponsored VQ, and the amazing volunteers who worked with me.”
Mrs Jordan had the idea for Vocation Quest after she was made redundant from her job with Haddon Training in Marlborough in February 2009.
The mother of two grown-up children said she found out first hand what it is like to be looking for work when you are over 50.
Mrs Jordan is continuing to coach people back into work through her website, www.sue jordanuk.com and has another project in mind.