Helping jobseekers in Derby get to work by removing transport barriers

Chris Sims and two Sustrans project officers with bike

Bike It Jobseekers in Derby helped people like Chris (picture left) get to work

Kimberley Jowitt with Sustrans project officer

“I wasn’t using the bike before, it was in the garden rusting. Now I’m riding it around the estate – it’s helping me to get fit and it’s saving me money on bus fares!”

In 2012, Derby City Council were awarded a grant of £4.9 million by the Department of Transport through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund - £1.85 million in capital funding and £3.1 million for revenue projects.

We were commissioned to deliver Bike It Jobseekers to enable access to employment – the first time this approach had been piloted in the UK.

Derby's Local Sustainable Transport Fund was branded ‘Connected Derby’ and contained five strands and key themes to improve transport.

These were:

  • Improve sustainable transport options for commuters and businesses
  • Encourage behaviour change through a smarter choices package
  • Enable job-seekers to access employment at targeted sites
  • Work with employers to support sustainable travel
  • Ensure new developments build in sustainable travel

Executive summary

Between 2012 and 2016, we engaged 893 young people aged 14-18 years in schools and youth groups, delivering a variety of activities including Dr Bike sessions, talks at assemblies, Bike It champion meetings, advice and information sessions about active and sustainable transport.

The team engaged 1,863 jobseekers at a range of community venues which included Jobcentre Plus, local schools and a job club in Derby’s Central Library.

We organised Dr Bike sessions and provided advice on active and sustainable travel. Participants received one to one support to develop a customised personal travel plan.

Successful outcomes included:

  • pupils cycling to school at least once a week increased from 0.5% to 12% in participating schools
  • 66% felt that the free bikes helped them to attend training and volunteering opportunities
  • 66% said the bikes helped them to attend interviews
  • 75% said the bikes helped them to get to Jobcentre Plus appointments
  • 83% found their health and fitness improved using the bikes

Programme challenges

Access to public transport and transport poverty can be barriers to employment for many people. A key challenge for Derby City Council was to tackle unemployment, recorded as 9,297 in the 2011 census.

As experts in sustainable travel we were commissioned to undertake this pioneering programme and had three key targets to deliver:

  1. Provide sustainable travel advice to young people aged 14-18 who are going to be seeking education, employment and training after leaving school or college, and to deliver activities for them leading to improved skills.
  2. Deliver sustainable travel advice and skills through job centres to jobseekers seeking education, employment and training.
  3. Provide recycled bicycles from Bike Back Derby to jobseekers undertaking identified training.

This project helped to connect people to jobs, learning and skills. With our intervention, many people were able to access new and existing employment, education and training opportunities.

Effective partnership working

With a Sustrans Bike It officer in place working on a pre-existing project within schools, we were a natural partner for Derby City Council.

In 2014 the Council wanted to focus on employment-related themes and this contract was a negotiated opportunity. We were able to demonstrate a commitment to the project by securing additional funding of £5,000 to fund free bikes for jobseekers.

How we helped remove transport barriers

The first scheme of its kind in the UK, we delivered a variety of activities and interventions aimed at young people and jobseekers.

We worked with 893 young people aged 14-18 year olds in schools and youth groups. Activities and interventions included Dr Bike sessions, talks at assemblies, Bike It champion meetings, advice and information sessions about sustainable transport.

We engaged 1,863 jobseekers at a range of community venues. We organised Dr Bike sessions and provided advice on active and sustainable travel. We provided one to one support to develop customised personal travel plans.

Some jobseekers were eligible to receive a free bike, helmet and light. The bikes were refurbished by inmates at HMP Stocken in Leicestershire as part of a programme delivered by Bike Back Derby. This helped offenders work towards a City and Guilds qualification in cycle mechanics. One participant is known to have been employed by a major cycle retailer after being released.

We partnered up with a local Silk Mill museum to create a volunteering experience for a small group of jobseekers. The mill was commissioned to produce a bespoke exhibition for a bike festival. Using the bikes volunteers were able to take part developing new skills and producing an exhibition from scratch.

Results

The project engaged a total of 1,863 jobseekers – one fifth of the 9,297 people recorded as unemployed in Derby in the 2011 census. Most of these engagements happened at Jobcentre Plus (1,502). Other engagements occurred at schools, job clubs and other community events.

We delivered advice and activities to a total of 893 young people. At participating schools, the percentage of pupils cycling to school once a week has increased from 0.5% in 2011 to 12% in 2015. The proportion of pupils who have never cycled has fallen from 88.1% in 2011 to 84% in 2015.

A total of 85 bicycles were provided to jobseekers.

Of those beneficiaries who responded to follow-up surveys:
•    66% felt that the bikes helped them to attend training and volunteering opportunities
•    66% said it helped them to attend interviews
•    75% said it helped them to get to Jobcentre Plus appointments
•    83% found their health and fitness improved

For more information on this project email Matt Barber, Head of Partnerships in the Midlands and East of England or call 01733 319981.

If you'd like to work with us elsewhere in the UK please contact your local Sustrans team.