Jobseekers in the region are being given a helping hand by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) thanks to its Access to Opportunities project.
Since its official launch last October, the project has successfully provided transport assistance to nearly 1,800 looking to get into work, education or training.
Part of the project includes providing personalised transport plans to individual and/or organisations, which outline exactly how people can get to their destination efficiently and cost-effectively.
Ian Morton, Employment Coach at A4e Rotherham, contacted the dedicated Access to Opportunities Travel Advisors when his customers needed advice on how to get to training courses in the town. He said:
"I was delighted with the journey planning advice and support our customers got from the Travel Advisors. I was amazed to see that they thought of everything and supplied comprehensive information to meet all our needs. Their information and support has upheld the A4e goal of removing barriers to employment and I am pleased they are on board as an ally in our ongoing fight against unemployment."
The Travel Advisors can also help customers get access to low cost loans of motor scooters from the Wheels 2 Work scheme, so they can get to and from work easily.
Duncan Campbell, 22, from Ecclesall Road in Sheffield, contacted the Access to Opportunities Travel Advisors after he became worried he could lose his job because his bus didn’t run late enough to take him to his night shifts.
"I couldn’t afford taxis every day so thought I’d have to quit, but then my friend told me about Wheels 2 Work," said Duncan. "I contacted the Access to Opportunities Travel Advisors straight away and they were really supportive. They referred me to Wheels 2 Work, where I got access to a motorised scooter, and received full training on how to use it. It’s cheap, easy, and takes half the time to get to and from work; it’s the best thing I ever did."
SYPTE’s Business Development Manager Alan Nicholson is confident that the project will continue to be a success. He said:
"We are delighted to be assisting people with our Access to Opportunities project. Everyone knows it’s been a tough time for jobseekers so we’re happy to help in whatever way we can. We’ve had fantastic feedback from the project so far and will work hard to maintain the high expectations set."
The Access to Opportunities project, which is also responsible for enhanced bus services in the Dearne Valley area, is supported financially by the European Union. It has attracted £2.38 million of investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.
Additional financial support has also been provided by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the Local Transport Plan.
For more information visit travel2work.org or call Traveline on 01709 51 51 51, quoting A2B.
Photo caption: Access to Opportunities Travel Advisor Catherine Grange providing advice and assistance.