Having been mums at the school gate discussing the future of our children and their individual challenges, given a difficult economy and rising youth unemployment, we were trying to figure out why many young people are struggling to find any kind of work. We realised that many lacked the confidence and communication skills to gain employment regardless of their academic or intellectual abilities; from the straight "A" students with first class degrees, to those that had no formal qualifications at all. We felt that young vulnerable people were particularly disadvantaged, and wanted to find a way to engage them in gaining these skills.
Anna's background in training and corporate sector, and Lynne's blend of teaching, fostering and corporate recruitment seemed to provide a strong combination of both professional and lived experience to understand the challenges faced by young people and create a programme to support their journey into the world of work.
So we set about creating a delivery toolkit of easy to follow, activity-based lesson plans aimed at developing young people's employability skills that could be used in various settings - schools, colleges, school referral units, job clubs, community centres etc. We had support and input from young people, qualified teachers, social workers, media graduates and professionals in the recruitment and business world. The entire project followed the principle of getting young people engaged and developing their employability skills from communication to networking through their roles in working with us. We were very fortunate and received a start-up project award from Unltd to help in piloting the workshops.
In the process of creating these materials, our idea expanded as we discovered that many organisations and groups are all working to support young people in developing their employability skills but often providers were simply not aware of all the resources available to them. We thought we could find a way of bringing groups together to meet our common goals through mutual collaboration.
So the question became, "How exactly will we do this?".......