A NEW scheme aimed at helping the unemployed back into work is now open to referrals ahead of its launch on April 1.

Applicants are being encouraged to boost their chances of a new career by getting in touch with the town hall’s Get Oldham Working (GOW) team.

Over the next two years, the team is looking to support 785 people through the Skills Support for Unemployed (SSU) programme.

SSU is open to unemployed residents aged 19 and above.

GOW is looking to be equip people with the essential knowledge and skills they will need to re-enter the workplace.

Everyone who signs up will be guaranteed up to 100 hours of free learning and qualifications, which can help you gain paid employment in your chosen area.

A key focus of the SSU over the first few months will be on the growing health and social care sector, including upcoming opportunities with leading borough care providers.

But bosses still want residents who are interested in other employment areas to get in touch as there are many other opportunities, sector based training and information available.

Cllr Shaid Mushtaq, cabinet member for employment and skills, said: “We know it can be hard getting back into work after you’ve been unemployed so it’s vital residents have the right skills to help them.

“That’s where the SSU comes in – Get Oldham Working staff will help you access a full range of skills support, work experience, and also help breaking down any barriers that are possibly holding you back.

“By signing up to the SSU we’ll be looking to help you gain the skills you need to get the role you want.”

GOW is delivering the SSU on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency.

Over the last five years the GOW team has created more than 9,200 work related opportunities for residents – providing a real boost to the local economy.