Useful Resources

On this page you will find a range of useful resources to help you search for jobs, or identify education, training, work experience and volunteering opportunities that could help you to prepare for a new career.  More support with moving closer to employment is available from  Northumberland Rural Employment Hubs.

Are you unemployed, or looking for a change of career?  Whether you are currently looking for a new job or wanting to take steps towards doing so in the future, there are many resources available that can help you on your way:


The Job Help Campaign

Job Centre Plus has set up the Website  offering a wide range advice including considering a job in a critical sector, job search ideas, advice on job seeking, and redundancy advice


Careers Advice

Looking for a new career but not sure which way to go?  Why not check out

The National Careers Service website:

  • Skills Assessment This page offers a number of assessments you can take to help to identify what careers might be suitable for you:  these include a simple 5- 10 minute overview, or a series of more detailed quizzes helping you to think identify your own skills, interests and motivations and match them against potential careers.
  • Explore Careers Here you can find detailed descriptions of a huge range of jobs, covering what the role involves, what skills you will need, training required, possible career paths the job might open up and average salaries, and links to current opportunities.

Career Coach This is an online tool from Northumberland Council that offers similar services to those available on the National Careers Service ie: A career assessment tool to help you identify careers that most suit you and a browse careers tool, to help you explore in detail what potential careers involve.  However Career Coach also gives you information about how many people are currently working in each career in the Northumberland region, and current vacancies in the North East.

Future Learn Careers This online tool is aimed primarily at graduates and helps you to find a career that matches your qualifications and skills.  It  is provided by Future Learn, a company owned by the Open University which partners with over 170 world-class universities, institutions and industry leaders to create world-class online courses to help you with your career. 

Applying for Jobs

Need some pointers on how to find and apply for a job?   The following pages from the National Careers Service cover most of the basics

If you prefer a more interactive approach  why not try one of these free online courses:

Don't know where to start looking for work?  Good starting places include:


Self Employment:    

Becoming self-employed can be a good alternative to employment for some people.  Maybe you have developed skills in a previous job that you could market directly to customers, have spotted a great idea for a new product or service,  or have a hobby you think could be turned into a way of making money.  There are many sources of advice and help available which can help you to work out whether your idea is viable, and support you in taking the first steps to setting up your own business:

  • The government website has general basic advice on how to set up as a sole trader or company, how this might affect benefits, how to declare your income for tax purposes etc.
  • The New Enterprise Allowance (NEA): If you are claiming certain unemployment benefits and want to start your own business, you may be able to access support through Job Centre Plus in the form of the New Enterprise Allowance.  If you are interested speak to your Job Centre Work Coach and they can arrange for you to be assigned a mentor who will work with you for up to 8 week (whilst you are still on benefits) to help you to develop your idea into a fully-fledged business plan.  If you then decide to go ahead with starting your business, you may be eligible to claim a weekly allowance for up to 26 weeks and up to a total £1,274 over 26 weeks giving you a basic income whilst you start attracting business  If you are disabled you might also be entitled to an access to work grant to go towards additional costs of working that arise as a result of your disability.
  • Government Backed Start Up Loans  are unsecured personal loans of £500 to £25,000 which must be used to meet the costs of starting up a business or growing a business that is less than 24 months old.  You will also be offered up to 12 months of mentoring support.  The interest rate on the loan is 6% and the repayment period is 1 to 5 years. To be eligible you must be over 18 and live in the UK and able to demonstrate through a business plan that you can afford to make the repayments. (You can apply for a loan whilst on NEA)
  • NBSL is a business support organization based in Ashington, which helps businesses all over the North East to start-up and grow.  They provide the mentoring element of the NEA (see above) and offer a range of training and advice programmes. Check the site to see what is currently available.     
  • Princes Trust: Offers support to young people aged 18 to 30 with starting up their own business, including a range of online tools, mentoring, and low interest start up loans of up to £5,000
  • Spectrum: is a social enterprise based in Hexham which help people who are on the Autistic Spectrum to set up a manageable business or find and keep an interesting job      
  • BBACT (Blind Business Association Charitable Trust) Offers support to blind and partially sighted people who are considering self employment
  • Women’s Workshop based in Amble offers a wide range of support to women including the Women’s Workshop Cleaning Collective, helping women to offer services in cleaning, house-keeping, care and repair work on a self-employed basis
  • OpenLearn offers a 15 hour online course ‘Starting your Small Business’  


Volunteering and Work Experience

Volunteering and work experience can have many benefits including helping you to:

  • gain experience
  • decide if a new area of work is right for you,
  • strengthen your CV – demonstrating commitment, enthusiasm, even in periods when you are unable to find paid work.

The government offers various form of advice and support:

  • Government Website Advice on Volunteering  gives general advice about reasons for volunteering, types of volunteering, volunteering and benefits etc.
  • Volunteering while getting benefits  In general volunteering is encouraged and hours spent volunteering can count towards the total number of hours you are required to spend looking for work to qualify for Universal Credit or Job Seekers Allowance.  This leaflet gives full details of the rules applying for a wide range of benefits.
  • Job Centre Plus - Employment Advisors – work with employers to develop work experience, volunteering and job trial opportunities for people interested in moving into a new area of work.  If you are interested ask for more details at your local Job Centre.


Searching for Volunteering Placements Online:

National Websites

Do-It                a national database of volunteering opportunities

Charity Jobs    advertises current volunteering opportunities with charities (as well as paid employment).

Volunteering Matters (Formally known as CSV or Community Service Volunteers).  An organization which develops volunteering opportunities across the Country.    

VSO  Supports people to volunteer in developing countries.  There are programmes for

-young people aged 18-35 can volunteer on 10–12-week placements, living with a host family and working alongside local volunteers

- professionals to use their skills to support developing countries

All expenses are paid and help offered to find employment on return to England


Reach Volunteering    Supports professionals to offer their skills to charities on a short-term, or long-term basis.

Time Banking:      A volunteering organisation that recruits and trains volunteers to work in projects tackling complex social issues.

Prospects gives advice on Work Experience and Volunteering for graduates and lists current opportunities.

National Citizens Service Volunteering for young people aged 16 & 17.

Join In* set up as part of the legacy of the London Olympics, Join In helps volunteers to work in sports settings – eg linking them with local sports clubs, or volunteering at major sporting events.

Local Websites (covering Northumberland and neighbouring areas)

Northumberland CVA

Newcastle Volunteer Centre

Volunteering North Tyneside

Durham Community Action

Cumbria CVS

Volunteer Centre Borders