Employers workshop: a report from a programme participant

Image of employers taking part in activity. They are throwing balled up paper into a cardboard box

On 14th September, we co-hosted our Greater Manchester Employers Workshop with Business in the Community as part of their Future Proof campaign.

Business in the Community’s Future Proof Campaign is backed by the City & Guilds Group and supported by Talent Match in Greater Manchester.

We invited a number of employers to get together and showcase their visions and programs that were aimed at helping young people with their steps into employment.

Stephen Taylor, a young person on the Greater Manchester Talent Match programme attended the workshop. He shares his thoughts on the events and reports on the presentations on the day:

Martin presents to the roomGPL were the first to present. GPL is a family run business based in Salford, who provide construction services, employing general labourers and specialist craftsmen. Martin Gallagher told us a bit more about their focuses. They work closely with our Talent Match Coaches at the Broughton Trust: devised an in-house apprenticeship programme as a way to help fill a shortage in skill-gaps in the industry.

The programme works to raise aspirations, strengthen community infrastructure, resilience and sustainability within employment. It includes: interview preparation, support to make positive lifestyle changes, intensive one to one and group support, long term mentoring and then secure employment with the firm. Working with people who have been the most furthest away from work has helped them give something back to their community; so a local organisation who’s focused on helping its local people.

Second to present were Marks and Spencer. Lis and Fran Employability managers at Marks and Spencer introduced us to their objectives / ‘pillars’ one of which is Health and Wellbeing. Employability is a focus under this pillar. They are now working with third sector oganisations to help progress young people on their journey into employment providing employment skills, confidence building and work experience. The current schemes they are running are with: Remploy, Prince’s Trust, Gingerbread and Business In The Community. They have a pledge to have at least 50% of people into work in generally through their courses and 50% to progress into employment with M&S by 2019.

A room of people carrying out a paper based activityAnother positive insight came from DWF; a legal firm based in Manchester who recognise that Manchester sits in the 15 of the most deprived communities in the UK. They work closely with Business in the Community developing programmes to help with education, employment, confidence and resilience problems in the area. Their vision is not just to help people who are 18 years plus but to work with 14 – 15year olds as well. They created the ‘5 Star Futures’ programme. To help youngsters still at school to access employability skills, community projects, work experience, and to look at viable routes into employment of their choice. As a legal firm they’re more open-mined to accepting different pathways taken into the sector.

After a break, Business in the Community led a practical activity exploring how to break down barriers and make recruitment more accessible.

So an overall positive, inspirational day! It’s great knowing that there are some high profile organisations out there helping and investing in local, young people to create positive pathways in their lives.”