Talent Coaches work with Job Centre Plus at March Forum

Talent Coaches at their Forum

On Thursday 17th March 2016, Greater Manchester Talent Match Talent Coaches attended their main forum, held at the St Thomas Conference Centre in Ardwick.

The event was split into a Morning and Afternoon session, with the morning playing host to our quarterly Now Hiring: sessions and an update from our Opportunities Hub officer and the afternoon focusing on relationships with Jobcentres and action planning.

The morning session Now Hiring: Transport, gave Talent Coaches the opportunity to gain understanding of the routes into employment, the skills employers are looking for, skills gaps in the sector and how to use this information to advise and guide their young people.

Transport and Logistics Sctor presentationWithin Greater Manchester, the transport & logistics sector employs 72,000 people from 3,215 employers. It is a growing sector, with 8000 jobs expected to be created 2013-2023. Greater Manchester is home to one of the fastest growing airports in Europe.

Talent Coaches were joined by staff from New Economy – who explored what's happening within the sector, Graham Lord-Jones and Katie Huthwaite from RATPDev - who operate Manchester’s Metrolink on behalf of Transport for Greater Manchester, Rachel Spencer and Muhammad Karim from Transport for Greater Manchester and Christine The from the National Logistics Academy.

Talent Coach Victoria Chalmers from Pure Innovations then shared her experience of supporting her young people into the transport and logistics sector.

  • The majority of Talent Coaches rated the Now Hiring: session as good or excellent with all Talent Coaches finding it useful.
  • All Talent Coaches reported that their knowledge of the transport & logistics sector had increased as a results of attending the session.
  • 87% of Talent Coaches said that they would be able to use the information from the session in their role.
  • 87% of Talent Coaches said they would recommend attending a Now Hiring: session.

Also during the morning, Talent Coaches were given the chance to find out more about the workings of the Opportunities Hub.


Talent Coaches at their ForumThe main forum gave Talent Coaches the opportunity to share experiences and begin to develop an action plan on developing effective relationships with Jobcentre Plus.

Previous feedback from Talent Coaches has been mixed on their individual relationships with Job Centre Plus, with some reporting positive working relationships, but others feeling that some systems and processes created barriers for young people.

Prior to the session, a mapping exercise was conducted at Didsbury Jobcentre with a young person, a Talent Coach and a member of Jobcentre Plus staff. This formed a storyboard, which formed the introduction to the afternoon for Talent Coaches and representatives from the Jobcentre.

Talent Coaches voted for issues they thought should be prioritised. The top three issues were identified as:

  1. Young person's barriers to work not being recognised by JCP
  2. Difficulties coming off benefits to take up low paid work
  3. Lack of funded childcare to enable young people to take up volunteering opportunities

Talent Coaches then discussed the issues in three groups, identifying solutions, key recommendations and potential barriers.

Following discussion, an action plan was then formulated and agreed by those in attendance. The session was rounded off by a presentation from Chris Hulse, DWP Partnership Manager Jobcentre Plus, who committed to move forward with the plan.

On 5th April Chris Hulse and the Marie Graham Greater Manchester Talent Match Programme Manager met to review potential solutions identified at the Main Talent Coach Forum and to begin to develop a more detailed Action Plan.  The plan will be developed further by key stakeholders at this week’s Greater Manchester Talent Match Steering Group meeting, before being circulated to Talent Coaches.  GMCVO will be responsible for co-ordinating actions and reviewing the progress of the plan. 

  • The majority of Talent Coaches (80%) reviewed the Job Centre Plus session as good or excellent.
  • 87.5% Talent Coaches felt that the session was of relevance to their organisation whilst 69% said that the day was able to provide useful information.
  • 65% of Talent Coaches said that the event was interesting and engaging and the same amount said that it was of relevance to them.

Presentations at the Talent Coach ForumA new Talent Coach to the Forum said, “This was my first visit to a Forum so found it all very useful and to meet other Talent Coaches”.

Another Talent Coach, reflecting on the day, left feedback that said, “[I’m] interested in new development for the future. Lots of food for thought, awareness and information on issues other Coaches faced as well”.

On being asked what the most useful part of the day was, a Talent Coach summarised, “Having a contact for the Jobcentre, [I am] hopeful [that] this will provide a way forward for the Talent Coaches to work better and more closely with the Job Centre.”

  • 87% of Talent Coaches said they would use the information gained during the day in their role, with responses covering improving relationships with the job centre, feeling they had more knowledge of benefits and 

Suggestions for topics for future forums covered a range of topics from travel costs and working with employers to devolution and supporting young people who are ex-offenders.

All Talent Coaches reported being happy with information, administration and the event venue and a large majority of Talent Coaches felt that the length of the event was just right.

Talent Coaches are named workers who offer one-to-one, long-term support throughout a young person’s journey to employment. For more information about Talent Coaches, visit our Get Support page.