Teacake Club meeting review: Fri 6 March

The meeting opened with Will Earp and Cleo Metcalf from host organisation Element Society welcoming attendees to the expansive Yorkshire House, former premises of Yorkshire Building Society on the corner of Leopold Street. Will highlighted the work the youth-led charity does with young people from all backgrounds, including running skills programmes, residential courses and outreach work. Element Society runs the National Citizen Service personal and social development programme for 16-17-year-olds each summer.

Zak Ahmed was next to the stand, introducing AALFY – a Sheffield-based charity which delivers learning experiences introducing participants to new technologies, enterprise education and the world of work. Zak talked about then Learn, Create, Sell (LCS) programme which introduces the participants to elements of design, laser cutting, business planning and networking, and sees them sell manufactured products in a two-week pop-up shop.

Abigail Clark delivered a colourful presentation on the work Yes2Ventures is doing to foster behavioural change on the ESF Pathways programme. She explained how the charity is offering manufacturing, catering, arts and crafts, and circus skills workshops alongside its keyworker activity. Yes2Ventures, which predominantly works with people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties, is continuing to seek referrals for participants on its keyworker and behavioural change contracts.

Next to speak was Opportunity Sheffield’s Bill Hilton, who is leading on Sheffield City Council’s new Digital Futures Traineeship. The programme is designed for participants – irrespective of qualifications and experience – who are interested in forging a career in coding or programming. Bill highlighted some of the good news stories from the first cohort – with six learners moving into IT employment – and sought expressions of interest in the next ten-week course is coming up in April.

In the Quick-fire round…

  • Andy Ferguson from CTS Training provided an update on the provider’s study programme opportunities with weekly starts
  • Sarah Gregory from Depaul Charity highlighted the availability of Nightstop services for young people who are homeless
  • Mina McCallister from PeoplePlus Academy requested referrals for the provider/s pre-employment training and Sector Based Work Academies
  • The day’s compère Kevin Owers from Opportunity Sheffield informed attendees about upcoming partner funding opportunities on the ESF Pathways P2S, P2P and P2S Behavioural Change programmes.

Returning to the main agenda, Nadine Fowler from Sheffield Skills Academy showcased the provider’s practical construction training courses, which cover tiling, bricklaying, plastering, joinery, painting and decorating and block paving. She discussed the potential benefits of training and employability support, and noted that the Sheffield training model is now being rolled out in other parts of the country, including Nottingham, Bristol and Stockport.

Mike and Kate from The Prince’s Trust were on-hand to talk about their ‘Get Into’ programmes, which provide on-the-job training and work experience to help young people set foot on the careers ladder. Kate discussed a new NHS partnership, which will see programme participants offered guaranteed job interviews.

Emily-Jane Cappleman and Kate Liddle from The Growth Company gave a brief overview of the provider’s ESF contracts, including Skills Support for Employment – which helps candidates develop the skills they need to find a job and succeed in the workplace – and Skills Support for the Workforce – which is designed to help people become more productive.

Lorenz Fischer from YUNO Technologies attended the meeting to talk about his organisation’s new app, which helps underemployed people find new careers by linking them with the right employers. The company is working with employers, training providers and candidates and seeking potential partners in Sheffield to collaborate with.

Last but not least, Emily Hornblower from Opportunity Sheffield took a moment to introduce herself and the ASK programme, which is designed to inform school students about the apprenticeship options available to them.

The meeting closed with the Business Card raffle – won by Harry Coy from PeoplePlus Academy – and a tour of the upper floors in Yorkshire House, led by Element Society’s Will and Cleo.