A PROJECT in Minehead which supports people getting into work has proved a big success.

The Phoenix Project, run by the Devon & Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, and the Jobcentre Plus, has helped jobseekers develop essentials skills for work.

West Somerset Council and EDF Energy sponsored the eight-day programme in which participants gained a number of qualifications, including Manual Handling, First Aid at Work and Food Safety Level 2.

The programme came to an end last Wednesday when those taking part demonstrated their new skills in front of family, friends and local employers, including the West Somerset Railway, Foxes Academy, Butlins and Magna Housing, who were on hand to speak about potential job opportunities.

Cllr Karen Mills said: “This project has proved a great success and we’re extremely pleased that it has enabled a number of local residents to develop their skills and gain useful qualifications.

“As a result of this project we hope to see those on the programme go on to successfully secure employment.”

Chris Jones, station commander at Minehead Fire Station, said: “All those who have taken part have worked really hard to grasp lots of new skills and carried out a comprehensive range of discipline drills in a fire service environment, and this in turn has helped them understand the importance of working as a team.

“This group comprised 12 individuals who didn’t know each other before last week and have now left the course with not only additional skills for the workplace, but also 12 new friends.

“The Phoenix team and I are very proud about the way they’ve pulled together and what they’ve achieved.”

Those who completed the programme included Stephen Powlesland, Ashley Horton, David Toogood, Brian James, Christopher Sparks, Andrew Cox, Elliot Jacques, Nathan Milton, Robyn Gummer, Sean Gale, Sarah Clarke and Kashima Low.