Work Skills

Work skills aims to equip parents with the technical skills, know-how, training and confidence to access the world of work, through employment or their own enterprise.  It has played a key part in A Better Start Southend’s programme since its inception in 2017.

Parents and carers who are expecting a child, or who have children under four – in ABSS wards – are able to explore what employment opportunities are available to them, and how they might balance work with the needs of their young children, now and in the future.

ABSS Work Skills are partners in a new initiative to help those who are interested in a new career with the NHS working closely with Mid & South Essex NHS.

The rewards from the project extend far beyond just the financial benefits that come with regular work. From improved self-esteem to better physical health a regular job can provide both the working individuals and their families’ improved life opportunities. The programme gives the chance to re-engage in a comfortable and easy setting, with free childcare provided for all sessions too.

Five exciting free Work Skills areas make up the project, helping parents get started in getting a job which will work with their family life:

Learning for mum and dad

A monthly programme of free training and education resources delivered at easy to access locations. These courses will aid your employment skills and ultimately help you gain employment. Events include: Careers in Childcare, Paediatric First Aid, Building Assertiveness and Confidence, CV Development, Interview Skills, Flexible Working.

Consider a career in the NHS

Introducing the new Anchor programme

ABSS Work Skills is working with Mid and South Essex NHS and other partners to provide routes into work with the NHS through a programme of courses and events.

It is part of a wider new and innovative programme called ‘Anchor’ that exists to amplify the contribution that local hospitals can make to their neighbourhoods.

If you live in an ABSS area, you can participate.  We have expanded our eligibility criteria so that anyone living in an ABSS area can participate whether or not they have children under four.

Our programme will include ‘taster’ events for those interested in a career in nursing and midwifery, industry visits to the local hospital and East of England Ambulance Service and sessions offering hints and tips on how to write your cv and prepare for an interview.  The NHS offers a wide range of clinical and non-clinical roles as internships, apprenticeships or permanent full-time or part-time jobs.

Intro2Enterprise workshops

Become inspired to start your own business or become an entrepreneur. Put your ideas in practice and turn your skills, talent and passion into a viable business. Get in-depth knowledge of the process and requirements to set it up. Local enterprise advice professionals will guide and offer advice practical steps for starting a business including market research, financing, advertising and legal requirements.

Enhanced Careers Advice/Industry Visits

Find the right career path with guidance and inside tips from HR professionals in the know, including what a business looks for in an employee. The monthly sessions are aimed at those either out of work or considering a change in career. Visits include: Bourgee, Holiday Inn, Cliffs Pavilion, Toby Carvery, Ambulance Service, Marks & Spencer, Southend Care Home, Waitrose.

60 Minute Mentor

Discover possible career pathways through meeting inspirational role models, driving aspirations and supporting social mobility. Mentors include: Solicitor – Elsie Anakwue, Sweet Cheeks – Kat Ashdown, Flower Girl – Rebecca Reiss, Social Worker – Lynn Scott.


The events also provide a very useful opportunity to find out about the other opportunities for parents and their child’s development. This could be through finding out about the other Work Skills courses that we are running, discovering about the help and guidance that is available from the children’s centre that is hosting the session as well as finding out about the courses that are run by Southend Adult Community College.

The project will be also link with programmes already being run by stakeholders to complement existing services, including Southend City Council’s Children’s Services, local colleges, schools and children’s centres.

To find out more about the Work Skills programme email or call 01702 534077.

Read parents’ experiences of the Work Skills project!

Click to read:

Work Skills – The Impact on Children