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Young people inspired into jobs, training and volunteering

28th June 2022

Almost 50 young people across Blackpool who have struggled to find job opportunities during the pandemic have been inspired by a pioneering programme in the resort.

All the participants aged 18-24 were not in employment, education, and training, many lacking confidence, suffering from anxiety and socially isolated since COVID swept through society more than two years ago.

But due to a Ready For Work programme run by Inspira many are now looking forward to a brighter future.

Based in Church Street, Blackpool, we have just finished running the final session of a six-month pilot programme at The Old Electric venue in Springfield Road.

So far almost half of the 18-24 year-olds who have attended after being referred by the Job Centre, have found new opportunities, with 20 having already gone into either jobs, training or volunteering.

Tony Smith, Training Director with PDP, who works in partnership with us to engage with the attendees, says the secret to the programme’s success is the way it takes a different approach.

“The key is making sure on day one that the young people want to come back again. We let them be who they are.

“If it’s death by PowerPoint, if it’s like school, they just don’t turn up, and if they do they are unlikely to come back. On the first day we focus on team-building and problem solving and keeping it enjoyable without forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to.

“The evidence shows that if you get them there on day one we will keep them for the whole week because they want to come back.

“From day two we set out the expectations. They learn how they deal with things when they go well, and how they deal with things when they are not going well. These are really important things for anyone to understand which will stand them in good stead in all sorts of situations.

“From that you see people’s skills emerging. You see people showing leadership and delegation.

“It’s about building their confidence. As well as the skills they learn, they gain a new network of friends.

“We hear that many have been struggling with low self-esteem, staying in bed all day because they don’t see any reason to get up.

“By the time they finish the programme they have a different outlook and can see the opportunities open to them.”

- Tony Smith, Training Director, PDP

The pilot programme has been running from January to June, financed by Blackpool Council’s Community Renewal Fund.

The bespoke programme is designed to equip the young people with the soft and hard skills they need to make sure they are ‘Ready for Work’.

They learn what it takes to be part of a team, have the motivation to work hard and contribute positively to the working environment.

Inspira also uses its expertise to help the young people with their job searches, CVs and interview skills.

“It’s really rewarding to see the difference in the young people’s confidence as it builds over the week and so satisfying to see them go on to take up jobs, training or volunteering opportunities. It makes such a positive difference to them and their lives and also to employers in the town who are looking for recruits.

Thanks to all our partners for making this such a successful project and we are delighted to be continuing our partnership working on other initiatives which benefit the community across Blackpool.”

- Emma Shillito, Employability Adviser, Inspira

With its impressive results, we are hoping the programme can be continued to help even more young people across Blackpool.

Image: Emma Shillito (right), Inspira Employability Adviser and Tony Smith, Training Director with PDP, at The Old Electric in Springfield Road