Last Friday saw the very first Pop Up Talent Shop open in Birmingham and, if we do say so ourselves, it was a great success!
Pop Up Talent is a new initiative to help stimulate young people’s interests in education, training and employment. The one-day shop, held at The Square in Birmingham city centre on Friday afternoon, hosted a variety of taster sessions and talks from industry professionals in sectors such as music, theatre, design and sport.
This was the first of four shops that we are running across the city, working in partnership with the Foyer Federation, Good People and Changemakers, and funded by The Big Lottery Fund.
The aim of the Pop Up Talent Shops is to inspire and empower young people to develop and gain transferable skills, as well as gain practical experiences. And it’s clear that many young people were inspired at The Square on Friday.
Around 100 young people came into the shop over the afternoon. Visitors were encouraged to chat to industry professionals and advisors about their own experiences of employment and training, and to talk about their dreams for the future, however far-flung or impossible-sounding those might be.
Most of the young people who visited gave feedback by dropping a token into the box they felt matched their answer to this question: “Following your visit to our Pop Up Talent Shop, do you feel excited about future employment or training opportunities?”
61 said “Yes totally!”
9 said “A bit”
and only one said “No”.
Importantly, a large number signed up to the next stage of Pop Up Talent – the Talent Generator – a 12 week social action project where young people can develop and build their skills for work.
Lee Marsham, Gateway’s EAST (Employment Access, Skills and Training) Coordinator, said, “The main thing we learnt on Friday is that the key to engaging younger people in the world of work is interactivity.
“Unlike jobs fairs and traditional careers advice, the employers at the Pop Up Talent Shop don’t just speak to you from behind a desk – you are encouraged to “have a go” and try something new. To create something; to do something practical. Interactivity like this turns careers advice from something theoretical into something real.”
The employers, professionals and advisors talking to young people at Friday’s shop included:
Lauren Buffery, artist
Lucas Brooks (Lucas The Beatbox)
Academy of Music & Sound, who led percussion workshops
Foghorn Improv, who led improvisation workshops
Heart of England Training
Allowing and encouraging creativity is a great way to give people more confidence.
Lee continued, “Everyone who came into the shop was encouraged to try out new activities and chat to the employers. Some people created music – many took part in the percussion workshops – and two people even came in and did an impromptu rap alongside Lucas.
“Many people were able to create something and actually leave the shop with a piece of design or street art that they’d made themselves. People were finding talents they didn’t know they had!”
The next Pop Up Talent Shops will be:
19th March: YMCA Erdington
27th March: South & City College, Soho Rd
31st March: Northfield High Street
The very next shop, in Erdington, will be a bit different as it’s exclusively for YMCA residents, but the following shop, on 27th March at the Handsworth campus of South & City College, is open to the public.
Employers and activities available at the Handsworth shop will include:
Blue Cross puppy training
Plus, of course, plenty of motivational and confidence-boosting careers advice from our partners.
Below is a very short video to give you a taster of the atmosphere on Friday. We look forward to seeing you at our next Pop Up Talent Shops!