A team who has supported more than 1,000 long term unemployed local people to find work thanked the participants and employers who have helped to make their programme a great success at a special event last night.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Lee Mason hosted the event at the Guildhall to thank those who have contributed to the Solent Jobs Programme - which was set up in 2016 to offer help to anyone living in the Solent area with a recognised health condition who has been out of work for more than two years.

Liz Crate, Portsmouth City Council's operations manager for employment, said: "The Solent Jobs Programme is a truly life changing scheme.

"Those who have participated in the programme have gained some real work experiences and, for some, permanent jobs, which they can use as a base to develop their careers. 

"Not only has it helped to empower the candidates involved, who have often lost their confidence in their value as an employee, but it also provides an economic means for local businesses to tap in to a resource of talent that they may not have encountered otherwise.

"We have tried to join up local services and agencies as we want to ensure that people receive a holistic service which puts them at the centre of the programme. The participants of the programme are central to this event today and we have invited participants to come and share their stories and hear from others."

Cllr Ben Dowling, Portsmouth City Council cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development, said: "We wanted to take the opportunity to thank all participants, employers, and referral agencies for their support. This programme was devised locally and has successfully helped hundreds of local people to find work.

"We were keen to ensure that local services lead on the delivery which they have done and we feel that, once again, local knowledge and understanding of our residents has put local services at the heart of delivery."

The Solent Jobs Programme is funded by Portsmouth and Southampton City Deal and the European Social Fund, and offers intensive support to individuals to help them find work, including confidence building, employability skills and a paid work placement. The Transitional Employment Placements have been a stand out feature of the programme.

Find out more on the Solent Jobs Programme FAQs.