Today, young people enrolled on employability programme, Progress had the opportunity to speak to Baroness Stedman-Scott MP to talk about how the programme has supported them towards a future worth working for.
The virtual meeting was arranged as part of Employability Day 2020 – led by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA) –in recognition of the work that Progress is doing to support young people across Coventry and Warwickshire, with a particular focus on Covid-19 efforts.
The Baroness – who is the spokesperson for Department of Work and Pensions business in the House of Lords – had the opportunity to ask young people about their experiences on the programme and to get an insight into how Progress is helping them.
Representatives from community charity, Groundwork UK – who lead the programme and Progress delivery partners, Positive Youth Foundation, Numidia and Groundwork West Midlands also joined the meeting to talk about the positive impact that Progress has had on young people across the region.
To date, Progress has engaged with close to 900 young people to support them to kick-start a career, into training or back into education, as well as providing other support, such as life-skills, mental health support and opportunities to gain skills qualifications and volunteering placements.
LORDS MINISTER FOR THE DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS, BARONESS STEDMAN-SCOTT SAID:
Hearing directly from young people supported to find training and employment opportunities through Progress was a great way to mark Employability Day, and I wish them every success in the future. By helping improve the job prospects of young people and tackling the wider barriers to employment they are changing the lives of all those on the programme. This support will be crucial as we look to rebuild and renew our country while levelling up opportunities throughout the UK.
GRAHAM DUXBURY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, GROUNDWORK UK, SAID:
Young people have suffered a unique set of challenges as a result of Covid-19 – being least at risk in terms of the virus but seeing one of the biggest impacts with their social lives paused, education disrupted and job prospects damaged with potentially serious consequences for their life chances and mental health. The support provided by programmes like Progress is now more important than ever, and our partners and Progress coaches have shown tremendous commitment and creativity to adapt their way of working and ensure young people continue benefiting from the reassurance, mentoring and positive role models they provide.
RASHID BHAYAT, CEO OF POSITIVE YOUTH FOUNDATION, SAID:
Young people who participate in the programme tell us that it’s the unswerving support from their individual mentors that makes the biggest difference. They offer moral encouragement and practical help for up to a year and we are very proud of the skills and dedication in this team.
ERSA CHIEF EXECUTIVE ELIZABETH TAYLOR SAID:
Lockdown has affected young people tremendously hard. On the eve of the crisis, sectors that were closed because of social distancing measures employed nearly a third of all employees under the age of 25. With reduced vacancies and fierce competition for them, programmes like Progress will be especially important for new generations of young people following into the world of work. Employability Day is a great opportunity to increase public awareness about employment support and talk to influential policy makers like Baroness Stedman-Scott.
Progress is a tailored programme of coaching and support to help NEET young people aged 15-24 across Coventry and Warwickshire (West Midlands) access training and employment opportunities. It is part of the ‘Building Better Opportunities’ initiative and is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.
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ABOUT BUILDING BETTER OPPORTUNITIES
The National Lottery Community Fund is the largest community funder in the UK – we’re proud to award money raised by National Lottery players to 6 of 8 communities across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Since June 2004, we have made over 200,000 grants and awarded over £9 billion to projects that have benefited millions of people. We’re privileged to be able to work with the smallest of local groups right up to UK-wide charities, enabling people and communities to bring their ambitions to life.
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Progress has received £5,636,800 of funding from The National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
Progress offers a tailored programme of coaching and support to help NEET young people access training and employment opportunities. Progress is targeted at those who are the furthest away from getting work, training or back into education. It does this by providing one-to-one help to find a job, to get them back into education or to support the delivery of practical living skills, mental health support and maths and English qualifications: www.groundwork.org.uk/progress
ABOUT POSITIVE YOUTH FOUNDATION
The Positive Youth Foundation (PYF) is a registered charity based in Coventry that supports young people aged 8-25. Through our work we aim to raise the aspirations and life chances of those in difficult circumstances through two main areas of work:
- Intensive frontline services through programmes that support education, employment and training, healthy lifestyles, arts and culture, social action and the integration of young migrants; and,
- strategic support to policy leads, commissioners, funders and agencies across the youth work sector.
We are well connected to local, regional and national youth work organistions and regularly contribute to the shaping of government youth policy.
We have a full-time staff team of 27, including 6 members of the executive team and long-established Board of Trustees. Further information about our work is available on our website: www.positiveyouthfoundation.org
ABOUT EMPLOYABILITY DAY
Employability Day is coordinated by ERSA, the Employment Related Services Association. Find out more at http://www.ersa.org.uk/empday
ERSA is the representative body for those delivering or with an interest in employment support services. ERSA’s membership spans the private, voluntary and public sectors and ranges from large multi-nationals through to small specialist charities.