Teacake Club Meeting Review: Friday 30 September

Kevin Owers, Contract Manager at Opportunity Sheffield, welcomed guests to the Autumn Teacake Club meeting, staged at Portland House, hosted by Momentum Training, on Friday 30 September.


Liz Seale, Momentum Training – About Momentum Training

Liz explained how Momentum started in the engineering sector, moving into training 10-12 years ago. She explained the range of EAB-funded provision available in Sheffield, which includes Construction, SIA Security, Fork-Lift Truck and Welding. Liz explained that Momentum offers IAG and employability skills support, and will shortly be offering a Skills Bootcamp in engineering.

Colette Harvey, SYMCA – Worker Co-operatives

Collette introduced the Ownership Hub, a partnership initiative with the aim of growing knowledge and awareness of employee and worker ownership. She explained how worker co-operatives follow a set of international values and principles, with workers having a real say in the running of the business. Advice for people wanting to find out more about worker co-operatives is available through SYMCA’s Growth Hub.

Moses Lutakome & Yousif Hamid, Voluntary Action Sheffield (New Beginnings) – Refugee Employability

Moses explained how the New Beginnings project started to support refugees and asylum seekers into volunteering, and over time has evolved to provide employment, education and now participation in activities. He noted how refugee skill sets tend to be overlooked and talent people bring can be forgotten. Moses explained how VAS works with the SPRING project, Citizens Advice, Sheffield City Council, City of Sanctuary and various other groups to support refugees and asylum seekers and help address barriers to them finding good jobs to support their families.

Yousif talked about New Beginnings empowering model for supporting participants, which helps address social economic and cultural barriers as well as employment and educational ones.

Sian Oliver-Waters, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals – NHS employability in Sheffield

Sian explained her new role involves trying to fill workplace gaps within Sheffield Teaching Hospitals Trust. This involves working with the community to try and promote and support NHS vacancies, and giving opportunities to people who feel they don’t currently have them. Sian explained how there are a range of clinicial and non-clinical roles available, principally in Bands 2-4 (entry level roles) which are accessible for people who don’t have a background in healthcare. Sian notedthat the biggest gaps are in facilities (portering, laundry, security, transport), estates, business admin, clinical support workers.

John Powell, Opportunity Sheffield – ESF Positive Change

John explained how Opportunity Sheffield has recently commissioned a series of pre-engagement Positive Change projects – 18 new projects coming on board, part-funded by the European Social Fund. All stakeholders are invited to attend a launch event for the project on Tuesday 1 November – this is designed to encourage as many referrals as possible for the various pilot courses. Full details of the courses available will be shared with Teacake Club members in the w/c 10 October.

Bev Law, Sheffield City Council Human Resources – Disability Confident

Bev highlighted the key benefits of becoming a Disability Confident employer, outlining the requirements for Level 1, 2 and 3. She explained how there are a range of resources available for employers who want to gain this accreditation and move through the levels. Bev noted that 20,000 employers had signed up for Disability Confident as of Oct 2020, but there is still more that can be done to support inclusion in the workplace.

Faye Mellors, The Suit Works – About The Suit Works & new promotional video

Faye explained that The Suit Works is a free service to help unemployed people back into work through provision of free smart wear. This builds confidence and self esteem. Faye reminded attendees that The Suit Works is referral-only, that appointments typically last an hour, and the service works best for all parties if participants are told what to expect before they arrive. At the conclusion of her presentation, she played a new promotional video for the charity, which features a poem written by a local poet.

Roger Wilde, SYMCA – South Yorkshire Skills Strategy

Roger outlined SYMCA’s plan to develop a new Skills Strategy for the South Yorkshire region and drew attention to a series of upcoming workshops. He also drew attention to Multiply, the government’s upcoming numeracy skills programme, which will be funded by the Shared Prosperity Fund. Roger stated that the programme shouldn’t replace or displace current programmes, but should complement and run alongside existing provision.

In-brief section

Brett Hudson from B2W Group outlined his organisation’s Building Futures provision, targeted at 19-24-year-old NEETs. He pointed to B2W’s extended certificate in employability, L1 website design, L1 games design and development, cyber security as being among the options, with potential support including a budget for digital resources and potentially even driving lessons.

Adam Siu from Down2U Physiotherapy discussed his upcoming pre-employability programme for people with chronic pain. The funded 7-week programme is based around functional restoration to help people with health conditions gain the confidence to re-engage with the labour market.