Teacake Club meeting Friday 5 July: Review

A busy summer Teacake Club / Sheffield Employability Network meeting got underway at 10am sharp in a packed room at The Growth Company on Meetinghouse Lane.

Phil Johnson (Opportunity Sheffield) welcomed the 50 or so attendees to the gathering, before handing over to Timothy Jeffrey (The Growth Company) for a brief explanation of the host’s employability offering. Tim’s colleagues Matt and Kate were also on-hand to highlight the organisation’s services in relation to candidate work placements and SME training (Skills Support for the Workforce).

Pippa Proctor (Sheffield City Council) introduced her role in SEND employment engagement, before outlining plans to create a more integrated approach in Sheffield for supporting higher-needs learners into the workplace. She also highlighted the Council’s aim to see more SEND candidates targeting – with appropriate support – traineeships and apprenticeships.

Mark Longley from Sport Works introduced his organisation’s Nu Futures programme, which begins service delivery in Sheffield in September. He explained how the programme is designed to support confidence-building and work-readiness, using a mix of classroom session and light gym-based activity to inspire positive behavioural change.

Beth Turner (Sheffield City Council Housing Solutions) was next to the stand, explaining how the Council is seeking referrals for people with financial, personal and accommodation difficulties, in order to take proactive steps to prevent people from becoming homeless. She drew attention to the Phase 1 advisory service and alluded to plans for increased outreach work in Phase 2.

A new feature at the Teacake Club – the quick-fire round – saw a number of speakers not on the agenda provide an in-brief update on their organisation’s current activities.

Vanda Kewley issued a reminder about The Suit Works’ upcoming expansion, with female referrals now accepted, before Stephen Arundel (Opportunity Sheffield) drew attention to an upcoming charity fund available through a local construction developer. Sally Griffin (CTS Training) then briefly reminded attendees about the provider’s upcoming summer traineeships and study programme for 16-19-year-olds.

Continuing with the main agenda, Rob Holland (Skills and Drills) introduced his new start-up, which provides employability training in keeping with the military ethos. He explained how Skills and Drills offers first aid, military prep, physical development, personal development, and Maths and English training to 16-28-year-olds.

Amy Pyott spoke about another organisation new to Sheffield – Workpays. The employment support provider has seven new ESF-funded keyworkers, who will be providing location-flexible employment support within the city. The programme is available to unemployed and economically inactive clients across the city.

Ian Eccles and his colleague Mike from The Prince’s Trust provided a brief snapshot of the youth charity’s upcoming courses, including a rail engineering apprenticeship with Doncaster-based Intertrain and an initiative to support young people setting up new businesses. Ian mentioned that a ‘Get into Retail’ course in conjunction with Marks & Spencer gets underway in September.

Nadine Fowler took the opportunity to introduce Skills People Group, a brand new academy that will be delivering construction practical skills to learners in Sheffield. Candidates will have the opportunity to gain a CSCS card – as required to work on-site – and develop trade-focused skills.

The final speaker was Karen Allan from Sheffield Hallam University, who highlighted the university’s Careers Advisory Service’s ongoing support service for graduates in the five years after they complete their studies. She also requested information on any employers who may be willing to offer work placements for students and graduates.

A speedy, but action-packed meeting closed just before 11am, ahead of refreshments and time for networking. Many thanks again to The Growth Company for hosting the meeting and providing refreshments.

Business Card raffle:

1st place – Joe Gabbert (Sheffield Foyer); 2nd – Anne Wright (Workpays); 3rd – Alex Leonard (Sheffield Futures)