Teacake Club Review: Friday 13 December at Red Tape Studios

The winter 2019 Teacake Club, staged at Red Tape Central on Shoreham Street, central Sheffield got underway at 10am on a damp Friday morning. After a quick introduction from Opportunity Sheffield’s Phil Johnson, Laura Hayfield, Acting Head of Employment and Skills at Sheffield City Council, opened the meeting proper with an overview of the Council’s employability activity, while highlighting the value the Teacake Club offers to the sector locally as a network for collaboration and information sharing.

Pippa Gawthorpe, Site Manager at Red Tape Central, then took to the stage to welcome attendees to the training centre and draw attention to the range of provision available for leaners. She explained how Red Tape Studios offers the Level 2 and Level 3 Music Performance and Music Technology study programmes, along with AEB-funded short courses. Pippa also talked about Sheffield City Council’s traineeships, apprenticeships and new Digital Futures programme, which are delivered out of the city centre facility.

The first of the external speakers was Gemma Silver from Ahead Partnership, a social enterprise that works with employers and educators to provide services that help employers to engage, inspire and motivate young people around skills and career options. She explained how the partnership is seeking support, volunteers and potential partners to support its ongoing activity in South Yorkshire.

Sarah Gregory from Depaul South Yorkshire spent a few minutes discussing the work the charity does to prevent homelessness and support individuals who find themselves with no permanent accommodation. She explained how Depaul provides early intervention services with both parents and children, to try and identify those at risk of homelessness and understand the causes. Sarah highlighted Nightstop – a service which sees volunteers provide a bed for people who have nowhere to stay – and invited organisations to refer.

Debbie and Lizzie from Natwest Community Banking addressed the room to talk about the work they do with members of the public to raise awareness of financial scams. Providing case studies, they talked about the risks people face online and over the telephone, and explained how they work to educate individuals and groups – including in the workplace and schools – about the dangers of responding to fraudsters and exposing bank details.

In the quickfire round, Ian Eccles of The Prince’s Trust gave a quick update on the charity’s activity – including railtrack training with Intertrain, and the ‘Get into Healthcare’ and TEAM programmes – before Kevin Owers of Opportunity Sheffield highlighted some of the upcoming Sheffield City Council commissioning activity and invited organisations that may be interested in bidding to join its framework.

Felix Dyer from Great Places invited providers who are interested in working with the housing group on a PopUp Business programme, which is designed to help residents start their own enterprises. The last speaker in the quickfire round was Mark Longley from Sport Works Yorkshire, who was seeking referrals for the provider’s upcoming Nu Futures course in January, which will take place at Zest.

Returning to the main agenda, Glenn Collins from the Department for Work and Pensions introduced himself as the creator of the weekly Sheffield Jobcentres Hot Jobs Update, which is circulated on a Monday. He was eager to raise awareness of the newsletter – which is used to inform jobseekers of potential work and training – and encourage more providers to send details of their provision in for publication.

Clare Slack from Prospects discussed the provider’s broad offering, which includes its long-established National Career Service activity. She noted how Prospects can assist with a range of employability skills, including CV writing, job search support, skills assessment and interview skills.

The final speakers at the Teacake Club this year were Anthony Vale and Emily-Jane Cappleman from The Growth Company, who spoke about Skills Support for the Workforce, which is designed to help employers upskill their staff. They explained how 1-2-1 workshops, employability training sessions and more are available, in a bid to help organisations invest in their people and support progression.

The meeting drew to a close at 11:05m and was followed with the business card raffle and – for those who were interested in taking a look around – a tour of Red Tape Studios.