Roundup of the virtual Autumn Teacake Club meeting 2021

On Friday 26 November, Opportunity Sheffield (Sheffield City Council’s Employment and Skills Service) welcomed its visitors to the Autumn Teacake Club (Sheffield’s Employability Network) meeting held over Microsoft Teams. Phil Johnson, Contract Manager at Opportunity Sheffield, welcomed attendees to the meeting.

Harry Clarkson & Jodie Bradley – Speakup & Employment is for Everyone

Harry started with an introduction to Speakup and their work with community enterprises in aid of adults with learning disabilities and autism before passing over to Jodie.

Jodie has been fundamental in the development of a new website, film and resources called Employment is for Everyone.

This new project aims to create a movement across South Yorkshire to promote employment opportunities, knowledge and the benefits of employing people with learning disabilities and autism, and to help employers to provide ongoing support to staff with additional needs while in their roles. Employment for Everyone works with a range of local and national organisations.

The pair played a short film available to preview on their website which shares some stories from employers and employees. Although the website is still in development, the short film can be viewed by clicking here.

Harry concluded by encouraging anyone who may be interested in getting involved with Employment is for Everyone, or who may have some opportunities for people with learning disabilities or autism to get in touch by emailing and

Dawn Shooter – University of Sheffield

Dawn works as the Retail Manager at the University of Sheffield, managing 19 outlets including cafes, bars, shops, hotels and restaurants around the campus.

Dawn described the wide variety of roles and vacancies available which are open to everyone (not just students!) and for which full training is provided.

For further information about these vacancies, please email Applicants are invited to send a cover letter to

Michele Ward – Voluntary Action Sheffield

Michele from Voluntary Action Sheffield (VAS) spoke about its New Beginnings Programme which is for asylum seekers and refugees in Sheffield.

Starting in 2004, the programme supports people to integrate into life in Sheffield and achieve their goals through education opportunities, job clubs and the participation group led by its members organising social events. VAS also participates in the Spring Programme which supports people who have just been granted their refugee status to access housing, Citizens Advice, education and employment. The programmes have helped over 300 people into education, volunteering or employment in the past year.

Michele is also seeking any new opportunities to be able to signpost the group to, please contact

Nicky Straughan & Angela Wright – Northern College

Nicky and Angela provided an overview of Northern College for adults. The residential campus at Wentworth Castle provides a wide range of courses from foundation up to access to higher education, with both accredited and non-accredited learning available.

Courses are designed for adults aged 19+ and mature students who are seeking to re-enter education. Course fees are listed on the Northern College website, with many courses being free to those on benefits or low income.

Nicky and Angela invited partners to their open days, the next one scheduled for Friday 3 December. You can register to attend on Eventbrite.

Tim Jeffrey – The Growth Company

The Growth Company is delivering the Restart Scheme in Sheffield, which is the government-funded back to work scheme following the period of lockdowns. It is for people who are in receipt of Universal Credit and have been unemployed for over a year, referred from Job Centre Plus.

Participants receive 12 months of tailored employability support, accessing 1:1 keyworker support, employability tutors, job search tools, and access to opportunities.

Tim invited partners to meet with them at their offices at Cubo, Carver Street or contact him for any further information by emailing

John Powell – Opportunity Sheffield (Sheffield City Council)

The ESF Pathways to Success and ESF Ambition strands of Opportunity Sheffield have been commissioned for delivery of employment support up to end of March 2022.

Working with community organisations, the provision is not competing with other employment support in the city, but instead is here to focus on working with the people with the most significant barriers to employment to be able to progress.

John was pleased to confirm further funding has been secured for the delivery to continue to end of December 2023.

Any referrals, please complete the online form or email

Rachel Blake – Sector Routeways (Sheffield City Council)

Rachel presented an update to the Sector Routeways offer by Sheffield City Council. The project aims to create progression routes and careers in the sectors meeting skills and workforce shortages in the city, and linking with quality employers.

Sector Routeways is up and running with courses and opportunities available in the digital, construction, engineering and manufacturing, and adult social care sectors. Coming soon in the new year will be a new branch for hospitality of hotels.

Please refer by emailing

Pippa Proctor – Advance Sheffield City Region (Sheffield City Council)

Advance SCR is a new website with resources available to help individuals to advance in their current field or move into a new field.

Advance also aims to help employers develop their workforce by helping to navigate possible funding options and courses. The project will work with training providers to communicate their course content to allow employers to make informed decisions about their choices for learning and development in their organisation.

Bill Hilton – Advancing Digital (Sheffield City Council)

The ESF funded Advancing Digital Programme works with employers to upskill existing IT workforces and support the development of basic IT skills. In development is a database of free and low-cost training resources in the eight key areas of IT skills in businesses.

Any referrals can be made to where the team will identify skills gaps and advise training opportunities.

Quickfire round

In Teacake Club tradition, attendees are invited to shout up or post any other activity or news they would like to share with the group:

  • Longley Park Sixth Form college – a wide range of courses are available, see online or contact Lee Moore, Careers & Employability Co-ordinator
  • Zest – Zest4Life, a behavioural change short course funded by ESF helping people with personal development in readiness for employment is starting the first cohort on Wednesday 1 December and has places remaining for this and cohorts in the new year. Contact Maria or referrals are being accepted through ICONI.
  • South Yorkshire Housing Association have vacancies:
  • Manor and Castle Development Trust are having an open day at Community Space (Manor Park Centre, S1 1WE) from 11am-2pm on Wednesday 8 December to showcase what they do. Tel 0114 2655145.
  • Big Ambitions have a range of vacancies and kickstart opportunities and is developing a new website.
  • FACES, the Council’s Family and Adult Education team, is holding winter craft events over the next couple weeks at various community venues. The goal is to get families engaged with craft activities whilst learning more about what they do. for more info or any referrals for adult education courses.
  • National Careers Service is available for advice and guidance for CV building, job matching and knowledge base.
  • Kevin Owers (Opportunity Sheffield) announced there has now been Teacake Club 150 newsletters! It is hoped Teacake Club meetings will see a return to in person events in 2022.