As young people from our network of Youth Zones continue to progress through our ‘Get a Job’ programme, we caught up with Andrew Roscoe, 19 a member of Wigan Youth Zone, to reflect on his time on the course, which is jointly funded by the Accenture UK and AO Smile Foundations.
We recently reported that Mahdlo (Oldham), The Factory (Manchester), Wigan Youth Zone, Carlisle Youth Zone, Blackburn Youth Zone and Bolton Lads and Girls Club received a combined grant of £257,000 to implement the new ‘Get A Job’ scheme, which aims to help young people aged 16-19 years old get the right skills to secure employment.
The project, co-ordinated by OnSide, is particularly distinct as it allows our Youth Zones to support young people who are not in education, employment or training, as well as young people deemed ‘at risk’ or ‘hard to reach’; and those from deprived backgrounds.
At this stage, we are 6 months into the delivery of the 12 month programme, with over 80 young people already recruited onto the course, of which 72 have progressed into work, further education or training – an average of 92%!
Of those 72 successful graduates, 36 young people have already secured employment and 16 have moved into training, education or apprenticeships/traineeships.
One of Wigan Youth Zone’s recent graduates, Andrew Roscoe, 19, tells us why he found the ‘Get a Job’ course so rewarding.
He said: “I first came to Wigan Youth Zone through the Jobcentre. I initially became a volunteer before I joined the course and got involved in many things such as volunteering for Wigan Warriors Community Foundation.”
Talking specifically about the course, Andrew continued:
“When I first started on the course my initial thought was; ‘I wonder who I am going to meet and will the course benefit me?’ I wanted to meet new people and develop new skills and I had a keen interest in learning how to complete cover letters which would help me with my future employment.
I remember the first day; we got involved in ice breakers and games to make sure everyone got to know each other. I found this part of the course particularly fun and enjoyable. There were a lot of team building exercises and it was important for us to work well together because in a real life work environment most businesses rely on people working amongst each other. The course also taught me other skills known as ‘PEARL’ – skills such as, social skills, managing feelings, self-awareness, empathy and motivation. The course took me on a company visit to ‘Milliken’. I saw what it would be like working in a company that size. We learnt about the different aspects of the company, the different departments and the amount of work that is involved with producing and selling carpet tiles nationally and internationally. Overall, it was hugely enjoyable.”
Andrew continued further:
“Along with meeting new people on the course I also got to meet a couple of great tutors, in particular Greg who always went the extra mile to ensure my job applications and CV were up to scratch to give me the best possible chance of employment.”
After graduating from the ‘Get a Job’ course, Andrew recently gained employment with PGL Recruitment as an activity instructor. The 19 year old is now packing his bags, getting ready to start his new life away from home in his new role based in Shrewsbury.
Andrew reflected on his time on the course by concluding: “When I started this course I said to myself I’m going to come out my shell straight away rather than wait for someone to bring me out of it and in my eyes it paid off. I feel a lot more comfortable around new people and straight away I’m ready to be myself. I feel my new role working for PGL will be hugely beneficial to me as I’ll be meeting new people all the time. Overall, this was a really enjoyable course, an experience I will never forget and I have met friends for life as a result. I now feel that I can be myself, bubbly and enthusiastic and I owe a lot to the ‘Get a Job’ course.”
On the back of this success, Wigan Youth Zone will be introducing the Duke of Edinburgh Award to their next Get a Job cohort of 2015, which will give young people an additional qualification to add to their CVs whilst further strengthening their skills and experience.