On Friday 26 June, Opportunity Sheffield staged the first ever Teacake Club ONLINE meeting via the Zoom web conferencing app. Around 40 representatives from more than two dozen organisations with an interest in Sheffield employment support attended the conference.
Introduction and welcome – Kevin Owers, SCC
Kevin Owers welcomed everyone to the first Teacake Club ONLINE via Zoom, and apologised that there were only ‘virtual biscuits’ available.
Laura Hayfield – Head of Employment and Skills, SCC
Laura Hayfield presented on the most up-to-date Labour Market Forecasts. She explained it was still early days yet and no one knows for sure the full effects of the Covid outbreak on the labour market in Sheffield. What is certain is that there will be a recession.
Laura stated the critical point was now that lock-down was easing – a percentage of furloughed staff (around 60% of Sheffield employees were furloughed) will be made redundant on returning to work due the recession. She called on the employment support community to help get them back into employment before they become long-term unemployed.
SCC priorities for the coming year:
- Young people (disproportionately effected by the lock-down)
- Sector Routeways support for the unemployed (focussing on the more buoyant sectors)
- Career Change and Advancement (short sharp skill changes)
- Supported Employment (Salary subsidy offer to employers)
- Digital Skills (both equipment to aid working from home & upskilling to help businesses grow
SCC will certainly be looking to provide support for the most vulnerable groups.
Carolynn McConnell– Business in the Community
Carolynn fed back on the work of Business in the Community and the group ‘Sheffield Business Together’ which has been set up, including a number of large businesses to help charitable organisations and further community support.
A lot of work has been done around social mobility & work with schools and colleges. Since April around 1500 matches had been made linking community organisations and individuals with resources.
Carolynn highlighted the role the National Business Response Network has been playing in helping to navigate the coronavirus lockdown. She explained that businesses have been donating in significant volumes e.g. 8 tons of chocolate from Nestle, a lorry load of products from McVities, and frozen meals from Manchester Airport’s supplier chain.
The project is free to access either to apply for aid, or to offer resources of food, equipment or time. Going forward Carolynn foresees an increased need for IT equipment.
Bill Hilton & Gareth Urwin – SCC
Bill Hilton advertised the music AEB courses being run from the SCC Red Tape studios offering Level 2 and 3 in music technology and performance which are a great stepping stone into the entertainment industry.
He also spoke about Digital Futures Traineeships, and how these are open to a wider age group. SCC is now looking at traineeships that straight into IT apprenticeships, to build upon the success of the traineeship programme.
On Apprenticeships, SCC is looking at moving away from ‘Frameworks’ and into ‘Standards’, which are much more focused on actual business requirements. SCC is considering various sectors for offering traineeships into apprenticeships post lock-down including Care, Customer Service, Business Admin.
The Building Block has been carrying on online, with remote training for the CSCS test. Hopefully placements will recommence in July.
Charlotte Moody – Big Ambitions
Charlotte outlined that Big Ambitions is working on a number of contracts around Mental Health and Learning Difficulties. Their IPS individual placement and and support offering is designed for rapid job search to get people into work, supporting their mental health alongside that.
- Job retention services support people with poor mental health, working with both the client and their employer to maintain the client in work.
- Job Coaching Support, where a worker goes into the workplace with the client has been put on hold during lock-down, but will be starting back up again soon.
Charlotte reported that Big Ambitions are looking to recruit a Business Support Apprentice.
Paul Taberner – Endorphins
Paul reported that ‘Endorphins’ is the new name for ‘Sport Works’, to cover its activity in the employability field. Last year they ran the Nu Futures programme. This year they have a keyworker contract with SCC, which involves employability training, to help get people into work and keep them in work.
During the lockdown Endorphins has been running a number of online sessions including ‘The positive side of changing roles’, ‘Stress management’, ‘CV writing’, ‘Interview Training’ and Team ‘building’,
Carol Vincent – Workpays
Carol reported that Workpays has a number of contracts with SCC, including keyworker, ex-offender and Lone parents. They are open to referrals for any of these.
Workpays also offer around 20 different on-line qualifications from entry level to Level 3, to help up-skill people during lock-down.
Teah Lewis – The Prince’s Trust
During Covid The Prince’s Trust had supported 98 young people across the region.
They are operating a Live chat function 7 days a week.
Programmes they are running include:
- ‘Get Started In Health and Social Care’ which is a 3 day programme.
- A mentoring programme to support young people into employment.
- From Aug/Sept ‘Get into Health & Social Care’.
- ‘Enterprise Online’ exploring self employment opportunities
The Prince’s Trust employability sessions are running all the time. They also offer a developmental award of up to £150, to help get young people into work.
Hazel Bryce – Yes2Ventures
Hazel wanted to inform everyone Yes2Ventures is still around and seeking referrals. Their Food Preparation, Manufacturing and Catering courses had closed during lockdown but were looking to start back up very soon, and would be focusing on clients closest to the labour market.
Nadine Fowler – Sheffield Skills Academy
Nadine just wanted to inform everyone that the Sheffield Skills Academy will be back open 6th July with places available on the entry-level construction courses.
Kevin Owers – SCC
Prior to closing the meeting, Kevin noted that SCC will shortly be tendering for a number of Behavioural Change contracts – there will be a briefing session in the near future.
Kevin thanked everyone for attending and hoped the next Teacake Club meeting would take place physically rather than remotely.
Thanks to Phil Johnson for keeping minutes of the meeting and writing the report