Tag: employability

Supporting people to work means supporting people to better health

We know that, employment is linked to good health. Statistically, if you’re employed, you’re likely to be more healthy.

In 2006, DWP commissioned a scientific evidence review of the links between health, work and wellbeing – Is work good for your health and well-being? An independent review (pdf). It concluded that:

…Work is generally good for physical and mental health and well-being. Worklessness is associated with poorer physical and mental health and well-being. Work can be therapeutic and can reverse the adverse health effects of unemployment.

Gateway was originally set up to help people into formal training or employment – and so to better health. This pre-employment training provides a “gateway” into employment – it’s what gave our organisation its name.

These days, our Employment Access, Skills and Training (EAST) department continues to work in the areas of unemployment, and supporting people to better health is still at the heart of everything we do.

What does EAST do?

EAST works with communities to enable people to work. We do this by offering work experience and paid employment, alongside vital support and training, to people who may not otherwise be able to access it. For example, in February we wrote about our Training To Care course, which offers funded opportunities for those who want to get into care work.

Going from being out of work to being in work is a big lifestyle change. It’s not easy to go from being unemployed for months, sometimes years, and straight into a job. So we support people to manage this change.

Many of the people we work with have some really useful and potentially transferable life experiences, but come up against barriers to work. They may not have everything an employer is looking for: the right qualifications, a certain amount of work experience, or employer references. Some may not have finished education; some have low literacy levels; some might have a police record. A lot of the people we see – especially younger people – have just never really learnt how to work, or developed a “work ethic”, yet.

So we support people to overcome these barriers. We help them to demonstrate their skills and experience, and to gain the work experience, qualifications, references and good work practices that they need to become employed – and therefore healthier.

We do this via our own programmes and working with other organisations. For example, Pop Up Talent offers young people new ways to look at work – to help them unearth hidden talents and to see potential employment in a broader, more positive way.

The “Skills Escalator”

The EAST department covers four main areas: Volunteering, Traineeships, Apprenticeships and Paraprofessionals. These provide a training and employment pathway – also known to us as the “skills escalator”.
Skills-Escalator

This allows people to enter at any stage of the pathway, and receive training and support to move up – as Farzana did when she trained with us before becoming a paraprofessional Pregnancy Outreach Worker, then moved on to begin a degree course in Nursing.

Put very simply, we see people in communities who have a wealth of life experience … and we see employers – particularly in the health sector – with needs. So we work to put these together. People think that to work in health and social care you have to be a doctor or a nurse, and that you need to be “a professional”. This isn’t true. Actually, we can’t think of a job that isn’t available in the health sector – from hairdresser to helicopter pilot!

Introducing Pop Up Talent

Pop-Up-Talent-logo-smOur Employment Access Skills and Training department (EAST) has an exciting new venture coming up in 2014: we’re going to be working with the Foyer Federation on the Pop Up Talent project.

The idea is to create a different type of job centre – one that really works for young people. Instead of young unemployed people going to a job centre to look for jobs, the Pop Up Talent Shops will go to them, opening up in the places where they already go. These Talent Shops will give young people the tools they need to get on in life – building their confidence and showcasing their talents to potential employers.

You may remember Pop Up Talent Shops from an episode of Channel 4’s Secret Millions, which followed the Foyer Federation and Dave “Bank of Dave” Fishwick as they convinced the Big Lottery Fund to back the project. You can watch the episode here (C4 website registration required).

Pop Up Talent is being run in London, Birmingham and South Wales, so it’s a national project – and Gateway is very pleased to be representing Birmingham. Birmingham is one of the youngest cities in England – if not the youngest – and this programme is really important for the next generation of workers. It’s up to all of us to get involved and Gateway is proud to be leading such an exciting innovation for the city.

From the Foyer Federation website:

Lots of young people tell us that the way in which Job Centre Plus and other providers operate isn’t working for them. We also know that the vast majority of small and medium sized businesses don’t use the Job Centre and they’re the employers who are likely to provide a great deal of the jobs in the future.

Pop Up Talent is a way of turning the way young people connect with employers on its head. Both ends of the supply chain are ready to try a radical new approach and start a different kind of conversation. Pop Up Talent does this by finding new ways to work: new ways into the labour market, and new solutions to a stubborn problem.

Pop Up Talent is a great fit for Gateway, as it bridges a gap in public service delivery and encourages personal confidence and independence. We can’t wait to get started – giving unemployed young people the chance to create work opportunities, and helping create a different conversation between employers and young people.

If you think you might be able to help – for example by offering voluntary short work experiences, volunteering opportunities, or short workshops in pop up talent shops – please get in touch.

Here’s a short film from the Foyer Federation, showcasing the Open Talent campaign, which helped to develop Pop Up Talent and so gives a bit more background about the project.