Thursday, November 2, 2017

News: Businesses called on to harness SCR's young talent

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A Call to Arms has been issued to businesses in the Sheffield city region by Sheffield Futures: help change the lives of our most disadvantaged young people by taking them into your workforce.

Sheffield Futures is the lead partner of the partnership delivering the Big Lottery Fund's Talent Match Programme in the Sheffield city region. The Programme aims to address high levels of unemployment among 18-24 year olds in the area. Although led by Sheffield Futures the involvement of various local delivery partners has meant there are different delivery models across the city region.

Running for the last four years, Talent Match has coaches that work one-to-one to help with their personal struggles, enable them to gain confidence, qualifications and work experience - and support them and their employer for many months.

This hand-holding scheme has already nurtured 622 disadvantaged 18-25 year olds who had been out of work for more than a year into employment across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. A further 1,300 are currently being helped into education, training and voluntary work.

But despite being recognised as one of the top five projects of its kind across the UK, Talent Match SCR will come to an end in December 2018 unless new funding is found.

Leaders of the project, Sheffield Futures, have to find the money to continue once Big Lottery funding runs out and are intent on maximising their work while they still have the means.

Attracting more employers is key.

Since Talent Match began in 2013, 189 firms from the region's voluntary and private sectors have got onboard. And in the last 18 months, 165 companies in the SCR have signed up.

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Gail Gibbons, CEO at Sheffield Futures, said: "But we need more - we have young clients waiting right now for work experience placements that can change their lives. These people are going to be left behind without help to change their lives and secure brighter futures by joining the local workforce.

"Getting them off benefits and into work is good for the public purse, but it also enables these young people to reach for dreams they never thought were possible. And these young people are an untapped resource; they can bring real value to the region's workforce."

Numerous Talent Match clients are currently in unpaid placements and 60 are employed with local companies on Wage Subsidy, an important offer from the programme, which enables a wage to be paid for up to six months. Of 20 whose Wage Subsidy has ended, seven have been taken on by their employer. Others have been able to use their experience of work to find another job, one is now an apprentice and another has set up in business.

Gibbons added: "Employer engagement is critical. We are looking for caring employers we can work with to offer quality placements.

"We understand companies may feel it’s a risk to take on young people who do not have much work experience. But we are there to support them and the young person and the reward is two-fold; many companies have jobs they always struggle to fill and successful company owners tell us they didn't have the best start in life and want to give someone a helping hand."

Sheffield Futures is appealing to local authorities, employers, funders, stakeholders and social investors to back their fight for survival and a No One Left Behind conference is being staged at Rotherham United's New York Stadium on November 10 2017.

Talent Match website

Images: Talent Match

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