Free training course leads to 10 jobseekers finding work in Hyndburn

10 job-seekers have found work in Hyndburn following a free two-week Customer Service course delivered as part of the MPT Steps employment partnership.

Onward Homes, an MPT Steps delivery partner, developed the training alongside Lancashire Adult Learning to specifically cover the skills and knowledge needed to work in contact centres.

Topics included how to answer calls professionally, be resilient and assertive and maintain confidentiality. Following the course, Onward’s employment mentors continued to work closely with its attendees to help develop their skills and confidence. This included an opportunity to volunteer on Onward Home’s 1st Call reception to gain up to date experience of dealing with customer enquiries and build their confidence.

10 out of the 13 job-seekers who attended the course are now in employment, including two at BT’s contact centre in Accrington.

The support was delivered as part of the MPT Steps partnership, which provides free tailored support and mentoring to people struggling to enter work, to boost their confidence, skills, health and wellbeing. It is made possible with £4.75m funding from the European Social Fund. MPT Steps is delivered by 20 partner organisations across the borough, including housing associations, councils, charities, employment hubs, Youth Zones and more, with the partnership managed by charity Active Lancashire.

Now at its mid-point, the project is on track to support 4,000 people before it ends in December 2023, having already supported over 2,000 job-seekers.

Jill Stazicker, MPT Steps Team Leader at Onward, said:

It is so inspiring and rewarding to see participants on our employment programme develop their skills, confidence and ambition since attending the 2 week Customer Service training with 1st Call. The mentors successfully supported them through MPT Steps, whilst building a great working relationship with BT and other employers.

Thank you to BT who saw the determination, desire and skills in these Hyndburn residents and gave them the opportunity to join their teams.

Clare McKenna, MPT Steps mentor at Onward, said:

It was a pleasure to mentor our participants and work with all of the staff at BT who welcomed them onto their recruitment programme. The support that they have been given from all involved has been brilliant and is a true reflection on how collaborative working can really make a difference to our local community.

John Cain, manager at BT Accrington, said:

We’re passionate about having a presence in our local community and working with Onward Homes has given us a fantastic opportunity to meet new potential colleagues. I’m excited what this can bring for the future.

As well as bespoke training, MPT Steps mentors provide participants with interview coaching and support with CVs, as well as access to free courses to improve their IT, literacy and numeracy skills. Participants can also access support to access specific training to get the job they want, alongside free activity sessions to improve their health and wellbeing. Tailored support can also address specific needs such as addressing ways to overcome financial difficulties or access to housing or transport.

While helping individuals into work, the service simultaneously helps the local businesses it works with find skilled candidates. Businesses struggling with recruitment can find out more about how MPT Steps can help them by contacting Sarah Dunne via

Photo: Clare McKenna (MPT Mentor, Onward), Omar Castelo Ormachea (recruit), Anthony Neild (BT Team Leader) and Donna McCabe (recruit).