Tag: employment

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!

Pop Up Talent Shop inspires Birmingham’s young people

pop-up-talent-shopLast 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.

Inspiring

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.

inspiredMost 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.

Interactivity

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:

aneesaRevolution Hive
City Year
Lauren Buffery, artist
Street Art
Lucas Brooks (Lucas The Beatbox)
Academy of Music & Sound, who led percussion workshops
Foghorn Improv, who led improvisation workshops
Aspire Sports
Heart of England Training
Changemakers
Connexions Birmingham

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!”

Where next?

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:

Theatre workshops
Punch Records
Urban Cycles
Drama therapists
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!

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Our Keyworkers get people into the jobs they want

 

13 weeks pregnant and under a lot of stress, Diane* was a client of our POW service.  She was  involved with an abusive partner and had  suffered an early miscarriage, as well as experiencing the onset of depression. During that time her benefits had also been cancelled.

Diane was referred to the key worker service where she was offered support and guidance from one of Gateway’s Key-workers, Susan Bernard. When Susan met her she was still struggling financially.   Susan supported Diane through frequent one to one visits and phone calls and signposted her to relevant agencies, who helped Diane get motivated and search for courses  as she was interested in voluntary/paid employment.  Diane’s burning ambition since leaving school has been to work in the Travel and Tourism Industry.

Diane was very resilient despite all that she had been through as a young person and had been doing voluntary work with West Midlands Fire Service for a time. She had also managed to find a voluntary placement with Travel Lodge which she has hoped would lead to a permanent position.

She enrolled for a French language class which she has been attending one evening a week to improve her skills but unfortunately had a setback due to a car accident which meant she wasn`t able to continue her role with Travel Lodge. This was really disappointing for her because she had set her heart on working for them as a Receptionist/Front of House role and had done all the required training for the organisation .This was just another barrier to overcome for Diane.

Susan supported her to complete a quality CV and covering letter so she was prepared for future job vacancies.

With the gained confidence and tools for finding employment Diane applied for a job with Birmingham Airport for a Security post. She was not expecting to receive a positive response due to lack of experience but was keen to apply and hope for the best.  Diane was then short listed for the interview which was a full days assessment.  Diane was very nervous but Susan supported her with interview preparation and confidence building to help Diane focus on the task ahead.

Diane’s application was successful out of sixty applicants and feels over joyed with what she has managed to achieve after such a difficult start

Diane has now started her new job and is finally getting to where she wants to be in life, all with her new baby!

*Name changed to protect identity