After a dramatic lead-up, which saw cancellation avoided by a whisker, the autumn Teacake Club meeting got underway at 10am in Seminar Room 1 at the English Institute of Sport in Attercliffe. Heavy rain and flooding at C&G Assessments & Training almost scuppered things, but thanks to some proactive work by Skills People Group and a last-minute ring-around, the meeting went ahead as planned in a plush back-up venue.
Phil Johnson (Opportunity Sheffield) opened proceedings with his usual housekeeping preamble, before inviting the meeting’s host, Rob Armitage of Skills People Group, to take centre stage. He spoke enthusiastically about the provider’s new Sheffield Skills Academy, where learners can undertake a three-week introduction to the construction industry, incorporating both practical skills and theory.
Melanie King of Sanctuary Housing took to the stand to highlight a job vacancy at the Shiregreen-based housing association, a part-time opportunity for a Work Ready Coach (22.5 hours per week, 12-month contract). She also introduced a participant on the provider’s Adult Work Experience programme, who was spending his Friday on shadowing duty as part of his five-day placement.
Next up was James Hicklin of Workpays to highlight the training provider’s new Adult Education Budget activity within Sheffield. The organisation is looking to work closely with existing Sheffield community organisations to offer bespoke vocational courses to candidates in locations across the city. James explained how Workpays is working in pop-up centres across the city on AEB and also the ESF Pathways to Success programme.
With the advertised speaker from The Growth Company absent, Matt Cookson stepped in to speak about the Skills Support for the Workforce programme, which offers funded training opportunities to businesses looking to upskill their staff. He explained that the programme offers flexible delivery, and that The Growth Company is happy to signpost participants to appropriate provision.
The ‘Quickfire Round’ saw Sally Griffin offer a whistlestop tour of CTS Training’s offer to 16-19 and 19+ learners, which includes traineeship, study programme and adult skills training, before newcomer Harry Coy – PeoplePlus Academy‘s latest recruit – introduced himself to the network. Kevin Owers (Opportunity Sheffield) then took a moment to invite feedback on the Teacake Club website and newsletter, which will soon turn one year old.
Returning to the main agenda, Mina MacAllister (PeoplePlus Academy) spent a few moments reminding attendees about the training opportunities available with the provider – including warehousing and security– before inviting members to join the organisation’s mailing list to find out about upcoming courses delivery dates.
Carolynn McConnell was next to speak, to highlight the work being done by Business in the Community members to offer social value to Sheffield communities and residents. She talked about the Sheffield Business Together group, which is looking to strategically connect companies to address local challenges and improve social mobility. She gave some examples of work being undertaken by network members, including the installation of a ‘green fence’ at Hunters Bar Primary School to improve the environment.
With the hot and cold buffet spread waiting in the corner, Robert Whittaker spent a brief few moments discussing the continuing work of The Sheffield College in the education and training sector, before Oliver Clark – a recent recruit at Clarion Housing – brought proceedings to a close. He spoke about the job club available in the Hillsborough area, and discussed the employment support grants available to residents looking to get into, or back into, work.
Business card raffle: 1st – Chris Chapman (Project Apollo), 2nd – Faye Campbell (Project Apollo), 3rd – Carolynn McConnell (Sheffield Business Together)
Thanks again to our hosts Skills People Group and for Sheffield International Venues for providing a venue at late notice.