Monday, January 7, 2019

News: Talent Match project works in Rotherham

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A city region programme which aims to address high levels of unemployment among 18-24 year olds has helped over 300 vulnerable young people in Rotherham.

Over the last five years, Talent Match, led by Sheffield Futures, has turned life around for 2,353 of the Sheffield city region's (SCR's) most vulnerable young jobless.

The barriers to work ranged from learning disabilities, mental health problems and homelessness to single parenthood. Some had spent years in care.

The Rotherham arm of Talent Match has helped over 300 of the borough's most vulnerable young jobless, getting 123 into employment, with 85 of them in sustainable jobs as builders, plasters and labourers, retail workers and care workers. A further 140 have been helped back to full-time education.

Speaking after "No-one Left Behind", a celebration of Talent Match SCR's achievements throughout the region at the end of 2018, Cllr. Gordon Watson, Rotherham Council's Cabinet Member for Children's and Young People's Services, praised the scheme's successful work in the town.

Cllr. Watson, said: "These are young people who are truly the furthest away from getting jobs, often struggling with poor mental health, issues as a result of family breakdowns or of number of other problems.

"It has been a successful model for engaging young people furthest from the labour market. The difference is the rapport and trust that develops as Talent Match coaches work one-to-one with young people.

"Good relationships are the key to all of our lives; they are the foundations for successful growth. Our young people are telling us this is something that works for them."

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Young people were helped to grow their skills and confidence, and equipped for work with financial support for training courses and travel expenses to workwear and tools. In Rotherham, £36,496 was made available, £120 per young person.

Many of those young people had been considered beyond help, but the employment programme, which works one-to-one with 18-24 year-olds who have been jobless for over a year, proved otherwise.

Krysia Wooffinden, assistant director - skills, employment & education at the SCR, said: "The theme "no one left behind" is very important. There is no reason why all our residents who want to work shouldn't be able to find work and progress their career, but many have complex barriers they need to overcome before they can do that.

"We must dare to be different if we want to make change. Talent Match SCR achievement that must be recognised."

The SCR programme is a top five performer in the trailblazing national scheme, which launched with £106m of funding in 2014 to tackle youth unemployment in the 21 areas of England hardest hit by the economic downturn. But now funding from from the Big Lottery Fund has come to an end.

Rotherham Council's Jo Smith, said: "I will be very sad to see Talent Match go. It has grown the Rotherham economy and strengthened the skills of the local workforce. We need to look at continuing its work by using it as a model for other engagement schemes. We must let young people experiencing difficulties in life know that they matter."

Sheffield Futures website

Images: Sheffield Futures

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