Teacake Club Review – Friday 26 March

Daniel Inniss, Contract Manager at Opportunity Sheffield, welcomed attendees to the Spring Teacake Club meeting with a few housekeeping points before welcoming the first speaker of the morning.

Louisa Downing – Workpays

Louisa Downing from Workpays gave an overview of the organisation’s current projects in Sheffield and the surrounding region, which includes Skills Support for the Unemployed, ESF Pathways and AEB activity. She talked about Workpays’ online learning platform, 1:1 tutor and keyworker activity, and the variety of courses available. Louisa also introduced the My Skills for Jobs programme, featuring IAG, which is available to any learner.

Claire Ward – Stafforce

Claire Ward from Stafforce introduced her organisation, a local recruitment agency to discuss the current labour market demands and challenges. She highlighted current vacancies in areas such as manufacturing, engineering, trades and warehousing in Sheffield and the need to identify new potential candidates. Claire raised the possibility of working with employment support providers /keyworkers, explaining that Stafforce comes into contact with many candidates who cannot be placed into roles in the short-term who may benefit from engagement with an employment support provider.

Edward Dawson – Sheffield City Council (Futureproof)

Edward Dawson, Work Experience Manager at Opportunity Sheffield, introduced the Futureproof pilot project, which is designed to facilitate virtual work placements in a Covid environment. Edward discussed some of the challenges in sourcing good quality work experience placements at present, given the pandemic and economic challenges, and explained how employer-led project work in partnership with schools can potentially assist young people.

Thomas Winbow – Momentum Training

Another Teacake Club debutant, Thomas Winbow from Momentum Training, introduced his organisation – a Sheffield-based provider – and its current course provision. Momentum is offering training for security staff via the SIA Badge (Door Supervision), currently being delivered via blended learning, with the mid-term goal of returning to full face-to-face delivery as soon as Covid conditions allows. The provider also offers Welding training at its site in Hillsborough, which feeds into jobs and apprenticeships in the local steel industry.

Peter Stansfield & Vicki Squires – Irwin Mitchell

Peter Stanfield, Information Security Manager at Irwin Mitchell, introduced the Your Story CSR initiative, which is designed to inspire young people to consider the range careers available in the law firm’s IT department. The Irwin Mitchell team is striving to use its expertise to promote access to work and social mobility, along with access to justice, and Your Story is designed to support this. The initiative has involved creating inspirational videos where staff members talk about their journey into IT careers. Vicki Squires explained how the clips were made, using an interview format to make the content more engaging and interactive. She also noted how the project links in with Futureproof (virtual career placements), schools’ careers advice and Irwin Mitchell’s own recruitment activity.

Faye Mellors – The Suit Works

Faye Mellors gave a quick overview of The Suit Works’ charitable activity in Sheffield, which involves the provision of smartwear for unemployed people who are ready for interview. Clients receive interview clothing – which they can keep – and styling support, with the option of further officewear if they receive a job offer. During the pandemic The Suit Works has been offering click and collect services, while also attending virtual events to reach out to other people in need of support. Faye noted that face-to-face delivery will hopefully resume in April to improve accessibility to clients; a new website is also set to launch in the coming weeks. She also raised the possibility of dropping in to courses/programmes to highlight the availability of support to participants.

Rachel Blake – Sheffield City Council (Sector Routeways)

Sheffield City Council’s Rachel Blake introduced the new ESF-backed Sector Routeways programme, which is aimed at supporting disadvantaged people into work in areas including manufacturing, construction, digital, logistics and care. The model involves delivering employability skills support, ‘boot camps’ and work experience, with a view to supporting participants into roles in sectors where there is significant demand.

Kate Liddle – The Growth Company

Kate Liddle from The Growth Company gave a quick refresher on the provider’s skills support for employment, the unemployed and redundancy programmes, which provide options for both employees and people who are out of work in Sheffield.

Mark Johnson – Corndel

Mark Johnson from Corndel delivered a presentation on the training provider’s 8-week traineeships, which include employability skills, daily workshops, motivation sessions and work experience. The traineeships will be delivered remotely via Teams, with sessions recorded. Participants can also receive a hard-copy workbook. Work experience will involve project work related to participants’ interests, with 120+ employers signed up to deliver remote placements.

Jade Appleyard – Sheffield City Council (Inspire_SY)

Jade Appleyard from Sheffield City Council explained how the Inspire_SY initiative is helping to equip 16-24-year-olds in the city with knowledge about job search. Since the launch in September 2020 a wide-ranging social media campaign has helped disseminate information and updates to candidates. Inspire_SY maintains an online padlet to provide easy access to resources. Jade also talked about the ‘See it, Be It’ initiative, which provides careers case studies.

Paul Taberner (Headstart Training / Endorphins Group)

Paul Taberner, keyworker at The Endorphins Group, discussed the provider’s Pathways to Success employment support provision and Step Ahead behavioural change course.

The meeting concluded with the ‘Quick Fire Round’, with Andy Wallace at Big Ambitions highlighting care opportunities at Kickstart candidates in Sheffield, Robert Whittaker talking about Sheffield College’s plans for post-lockdown, and Lynsey Golland calling out for referrals on the Zest4Life behavioural change course, which resumes in April.

Daniel Inniss thanked the speakers and guests for attending and closed the meeting at 12pm.