A leading North West training provider has called on the government to ensure job seekers aren’t being left behind as a result of the current lockdown.
Job seekers in the North West are more likely than in any other region of England to be left behind by services moving online as a result of the current restrictions, according to PHX Training.
Official figures show that people out of work are four times less likely to have access to the internet at home. Also, one in four people who aren’t in work don’t own a laptop or PC to make job applications, video interviews or online training easier.
The figures, from communications regulator Ofcom, show the issue is most prevalent in the North West, as the region leads the figures for poorest digital access in England.
PHX Training, which has job centres across Cumbria and Lancashire, has moved all of its training courses online to reduce the risk of Covid-19, but has found lack of access to computers and quality internet has meant some learners have struggled to keep up.
Briony Fawcett, managing director at PHX Training said: “While online learning, job applications and video interviews are the safest approach for everybody while the virus is spreading, we need to make sure that we aren’t marginalising those people who don’t have routine access to the technology that is vital to learning.
“For people who don’t have computer or internet access in their home, the only alternative is to go to the library or visit training centres, but not everybody will be comfortable with taking the bus or a taxi into town at the moment, and these settings are not always to perfect environment to carry out a task such as a video call or job interview.
“As a country, we need to make sure that people who are out of work or more vulnerable aren’t disadvantaged further as a result of the pandemic. Whether that is making laptops and computers cheaper, available through loans or donations, we all need to work together to find a solution.”
PHX Training delivers government-backed initiatives including adult skills including maths, English and vocational courses, employability contracts and apprenticeships.
PHX Training specialises in apprenticeship qualifications in business administration skills, offering learners skills for roles such as office executive, office supervisor, membership administrator and personal administrator. Apprenticeships delivered by PHX also include team leading, customer service, hospitality, management and warehousing across the North West.
The PHX team of qualified trainers also offers a diverse range of resources including offline, online and face-to-face services at six training centres in Barrow, Carlisle, Workington, Morecambe, Preston and Blackpool.