Home Business and economy Virtual networking helping to support businesses and residents

Virtual networking helping to support businesses and residents

by Jonathan Kearney

Knowsley Chamber of Commerce’s FLASH networking event has been running for five years and has continued be delivered virtually during the COVID19 pandemic.

It has grown in popularity with representatives from Knowsley’s business community attending. Everyone attending has 60 seconds to pitch their business and their services to the audience.

In addition, it provides a great opportunity to network, share contacts and make valuable connections.

Recently, Sue Temple-Fielding, Knowsley Council’s Supported Employment Co-ordinator, provided an update about the employment support she provides for residents with a learning difficulty or disability and outlined how businesses can benefit from offering a supported employment opportunity to a local resident.

The support from Knowsley Chamber and their FLASH networking events, has secured interest from a number of businesses looking to support adults with a learning difficulty or disability into supported employment through the Knowsley Empower Job Carving Programme and the Supported Internship programme.

Job carving offers paid employment opportunities to people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Less skilled tasks from different jobs are combined into a single role ideally suited for a person with a learning difficulty and/or disability, which frees up time for other staff to concentrate on the more skilled aspects of their roles.

Following the FLASH virtual event, two local businesses have offered their support with the ‘Raising Aspirations’ programme developed during lockdown to support post-16 learners. The aim of this programme is to inspire and raise aspirations around employment opportunities in the borough. Arrangements are now being made for the businesses to give business talks and host workplace visits for the post-16 learners to find out more about the different roles in organisations.

Cllr Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Despite COVID19, we have continued to run this popular and valuable event, helping to raise awareness of the services and support here in Knowsley as well as providing an opportunity for individual who wouldn’t otherwise meet to connect and network. The feedback we have received from these events is extremely popular and I look forward to seeing more businesses pitch their services at future events.”

If you would like to find out more about the supported employment the Raising Aspirations programmes, contact Sue Temple-Fielding, Supported Employment Co-ordinator on 07976 582 255 or email susan.temple-fielding@knowsley.gov.uk