Tag: young people

Youth employment opportunities: introducing ‘Making Health Work’

This week, we have been recruiting volunteer Health Ambassadors for our new Big Lottery-funded programme, Making Health Work.

Healthy-Conversations-logoWe’re launching the project in partnership with the Foyer Federation; the idea comes from Foyer’s Healthy Conversations programme, which aims to give young people the understanding, opportunities and networks to improve the health and wellbeing of themselves, their peers and their communities.

With Making Health Work, we aim to help young people to have Healthy Conversations with a focus on work and employment.

Health and work go hand in hand

The programme aims to get young people thinking about the ways in which work impacts on health … and health impacts on work. Our new Health Ambassadors will create conversations to address the health and lifestyle issues that sometimes create barriers for young jobseekers.

Eating healthily, doing physical activity and taking care of your mental health will all give you a good grounding in preparation for employment. But there are deeper and broader issues around health and wellbeing that can affect your working life too. Things like having friends who are a positive influence, having a good social circle to provide some support, even just knowing how to access services, and having access to good food at a reasonable cost, can all affect your health and have a positive impact upon your ability to work.

In turn, work can be good for your health. It gives you a reason to leave the house each day and stay active. It helps you develop the sleeping and eating routines that your body needs. It helps you to meet people and widen your social circle.

In short, we believe that facilitating Healthy Conversations between young people can give them the skills and background to sustain employment.

Could you, or someone you know, be a Health Ambassador?

Danny Fryer, Talent Agent for Making Health Work, said “we’re looking for Health Ambassadors aged between 18 and 25 to come and work with us in these volunteer roles. The Health Ambassadors will help us to deliver the programme through one-to-one coaching sessions with other young people and conversation groups, as well as activities like Health Taster Days and Social Action Projects”.

Volunteers will be given specialist training for the Making Health Work project as well as having access to the same training and ongoing support that all Gateway volunteers receive.

The specialised training includes two days working with Youth At Risk, full training on the Healthy Conversations resource pack, and training from the Mental Health Foundation. Volunteers will learn coaching techniques and find out how to lead discussions around mental and physical health.

On Wednesday, a group of potential volunteers came to our first recruitment session and held their own conversation group. The Ambassadors will be setting goals for others, so the session provided some practical demonstrations of the sort of work they could be doing. If you think you might be interested in coming along to the next one, give us a ring on 0121 456 7820 and ask about Health Ambassadors.

Pathways to employment

Skills-EscalatorMaking Health Work is a really good addition to our Skills Escalator (right; click for full size). Once the Health Ambassadors are trained, they can go on to take up other volunteering opportunities with Gateway, such as Befriending, or supporting Pop Up Talent. And, of course, as with our other volunteer programmes, they will have the opportunity to move up and become apprentices and paraprofessionals.

The links between employment and physical and mental health are clear to us (after all, health and employment are what we do!) so we are really pleased to be leading a programme that provides pathways to employment in this way – especially one that works with younger people.

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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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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.