THE third National Careers Service Job Confidence Index shows that job confidence in the South West is increasing.

84% of people in the South West became more job confident or maintained the same confidence levels in their job and ability to find work since November 2013 when the last Index results were available - an increase of 5%. The results reveal an increase of 15% since the first Index in August 2013. City specific data shows that in Bristol 86%, and Plymouth, 85% became more job confident or maintained the same levels of job confidence, a increase of 6% in Bristol and 9% in Plymouth in the last three months.

And the research, conducted by ICM, shows the main driver behind the South West’s increase in job confidence is the economic recovery, with 54% (Bristol 52% and Plymouth 50%) claiming they are more job confident as a result of improving business outlook – (an increase of 4 percentage points from 50% in August to 54% now.)

In addition to the economic recovery, two fifths of people in the South West also attributed their increase in job confidence down to more opportunities being available, (41%), (Bristol 38% and Plymouth 40%) and 36% said they had the right skills / qualifications (Bristol 39% and Plymouth 39%).

The overall Index, based on research looking at various issues affecting someone’s confidence in finding work, analyses the state of the nation’s work and employment prospects.

Taking in other, underlying factors, the overall job confidence score for the South West has increased by 1.1 points since November 2013, increasing from 54.5 to 55.6 out of 100. An increase of 4.1 points since the first Index was released in August 2013.

69% of all respondents in the South West agree that they have the right experience to find work, an increase of 5% since August 2013. On a national level, there has also been an increase in confidence around writing an application letter/ form, (up 7% from 63% since the first Index in August 2013), and developing a CV, (up 6% from 61% since the first Index in August).

However, when it comes to pinning down job opportunities and performing under pressure, the Index reveals that job seekers may need more help.

Just over a quarter of people (28%) do not feel confident in being interviewed for a job, compared to 35% in November 2013.

What’s more, although there is a consensus amongst those that are not employed but seeking work, that developing a CV and gaining work experience are important steps in showing ability to future employers, and although there is evidence to show confidence in these areas, in the South West, just over a third of all respondents have actually taken steps to update their CV and less than one in ten (7%) have applied for work experience.

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock said: "It is testament to our long term economic plan that people are becoming more confident in the jobs market. Every job means more economic security for families.

"To support this growing feeling and as the recovery continues people can be assured that the National Careers Service provides advice to all ages and at all stages of their working lives. I would urge anyone who needs help with their job search gets in touch with them today.”

Donald Distin from Ashburton who contacted the National Careers Service after he was made redundant as an electrician said: "My adviser, Julian Hamilton gave me lots of advice about qualifications and funding. It gave me the confidence to believe that I could set up my own business and was a real push in the right direction.

"After our session, Julian emailed me all the relevant course information and followed up with phone calls. He was a big help and I don’t think I would have had all the information I needed to set up on my own business if it hadn’t been for him.

“I haven’t looked back since – I have a busy order book and my company is going from strength to strength. I would encourage anyone who is faced with redundancy or uncertainty about their future to contact the National Careers Service for help.

"They can make a big difference. Instead of being out of work and facing an uncertain future, I am my own boss and am looking forward to the rest of my life.”