IAG & Options

Future Shapers Celebration Event!

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On Thursday 7th December, we took a group of young people to Sheffield Town Hall to celebrate their achievements made on the Future Shapers programme, as the programme comes to an end.

Future Shapers Celebration Event

Future Shapers is a programme for 14 – 17 year olds that offers support for personal and/or educational development. Young people have their own personal Mentor who tailors support to meet their needs, this could be to gain confidence, attend extra-curricular activities, improve attendance, gain qualifications, socialise with other young people, search for employment and much more.

Over the course of the programme, we have worked with 1319 young people aged 14-17, all over Sheffield. Here are some of our highlights:

  • 451 young people have moved on to college!
  • 542 young people have achieved entry level qualifications so far!
  • 43% of young people on the programme are female and 57% are male
  • 722 have achieved level one qualifications!
  • 92 young people are now in employment!
  • 783 have shown an improvement in behaviour and 915 have shown an improvement in attitude!

Congratulations to all on the programme, and we hope you had a brilliant time at the event.

Gail Gibbons, Sheffield Futures Chief Executive Officer said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in making the Future Shapers programme in to such a success. We are so proud of the achievements of all of the young people on the programme. Our Mentors have seen young people face their fears and gain the confidence needed to try new things; whether this is the high ropes, making friends or learning something new. We want you to know that when the programme ends, Sheffield Futures is still here to help you fulfil your full potential.”

Did you attend? Photographs from the Photo Booth are now live on Facebook, check them out here!


Fight is on to save trailblazing jobs scheme for most vulnerable

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The future of a trailblazing scheme transforming the lives of thousands of vulnerable young people by getting them in to long-term jobs is hanging in the balance.

Despite being recognised as one of the top five projects of its kind across the UK, Talent Match SCR will come to an end in December 2018 unless new funding can be found.

Leaders of the local project, run by youth charity Sheffield Futures, have to act now to find the money to continue supporting young people who may otherwise be left behind.

Talent Match is a Big Lottery-funded nationwide programme supporting NEETs aged 18-25 to find secure futures via employment and enterprise.

Talent Match SCR has placed 622 young adults into employment across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, and a further 1,300 are currently being helped by moving into education, training and voluntary work.

“The future of Talent Match is touch and go,” said Gail Gibbons, Chief Executive Officer at Sheffield Futures, the young people’s charity which runs the project.
“Talent Match has changed lives in this region. Young people who believed they could never have a secure and happy future – because they thought they were unemployable – now have steady jobs and dreams they can reach for. We have to find a way to continue so we can help thousands more.”

The 21 Talent Match projects around the country have a strong social impact, with evidence showing each that successful placement saves society thousands each year. Their 18-25-year-old clients have all been jobless for more than 12 months, and many experience learning disabilities, mental health problems, homelessness and single parenthood. Others have spent years in care.
The programme supports them to develop skills and confidence through individually tailored solutions including placing young clients with caring local employers offering jobs that suit their needs. A team of 23 coaches continue to support them in the workplace for 6 months and beyond.

Local Talent Match employers come from the voluntary and private sector. Zenza Limited, a bookkeeping payroll and credit control provider in South Yorkshire has been working with Talent Match since the beginning of the year. Leeann Shentall, Credit Control Manager said: “We believe in giving chances to those that want chances. We like to see people develop in themselves and are happy we are in a position to make that happen. We know that there are young people that have a true desire to work, but need an opportunity, which we are happy to provide.”

Said Jo Booth, Talent Match SCR programme manager: “Many come to us with their confidence at rock-bottom and problems they believe are insurmountable. Some are trying to find a place to sleep that night or the money to eat.

“Our motto is No One Is Left Behind. We help young people to rebuild their lives by going back to the foundations to find out how to make their lives easier, then gently get them ready for the workplace. But our work doesn’t stop when we have found someone a job. We stay with them, giving them the support they need to flourish in their new role. We are not about short-term solutions.”
Sheffield Futures is appealing to local authorities, employers, funders, stakeholders and social investors to back their fight for survival by offering funding and support.

A host of organisations will be urged to attend the No One Left Behind conference at the New York Stadium in November. (You can register your attendance at this link.)

Talent Match’s young success stories will take to the stage to tell their stories and regional employers will also speak about the positive impact on their workforces.

For information on how to support local young people and Talent Match, contact talent.match@sheffieldfutures.org.uk

Tuesday 31st October

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Don’t get spooked about your future…

Looking for training? Apprenticeships? Study programmes?

Find out more about where your future could take you. There will be a range of training providers happy to discuss opportunities available for you!

Drop in any time between 11am - 2pm on Tuesday 31st October

at NACRO, 70 Earl Street, Sheffield, S1 4PY

This event is suitable for people aged 16-19.

NACRO Halloween

Young People’s Options Day – 25th August!

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GCSE grades not what you expected? Not sure what to do next?

Come to Star House, 43 Division Street, Sheffield, S1 4GE on Friday 25th August 11-3 to find out more about:

  • Apprenticeships
  • College
  • Traineeships
  • Study Programmes

Options Day - GCSE

Expert advice from Sheffield Futures for A-Level results day

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Expert advice from Sheffield Futures for A-Level results day

With A Level results day just around the corner, Sheffield’s students are coming to the end of a nerve wracking summer wait for those all-important grades. Many students will be celebrating on Thursday 17th August, but what happens if you don’t get the grades you want? To help navigate what can be a complicated process and to make sure students are prepared, local youth charity Sheffield Futures – responsible for delivering careers advice in many schools across Sheffield – is on hand to provide advice and guidance.

What to do if you don’t get the grades you need

  1. Don’t panic. It’s important to stay calm so that you can act quickly. You are one of many young people who may not have the results they need to secure a place and if you’re panicking you won’t be able to think clearly and act quickly to access the best courses left.
  2. Start by checking your ‘Track’ status on www.ucas.com as this should tell you if you’ve been offered a place. If your ‘Track’ status hasn’t been updated, it probably means the university is still making a decision. Call the higher education institution straight away and ask if they will still accept you. There may be a chance you will still be accepted if you have narrowly missed your grades. If your chosen institution won’t accept you then you will go into the UCAS clearing process. However if ‘Track’ states that you’re in ‘Clearing’ then it means that you haven’t been offered a place but can start applying for other courses.
  3. Check the UCAS website/The Daily Telegraph for all University places still available through clearing. These are published on ucas.com and many universities also publish their places on their own websites. You don’t have to stick to your original choice of course. It’s useful to have a plan B in your back pocket. Make sure you’ve done your research before results day and know where you would like to go if you don’t get your first choice so you can act quickly. If you like the look of a course then call them.  The idea is to persuade them to make you an informal offer over the phone.
  4. Again don’t panic and make sure you look at the clearing places and courses carefully. Consider what it might be like to live in that place. How far is it from home and is the course right or you? Try and visit if at all possible, especially if you haven’t already been to the university. Many of them hold clearing events in the days immediately following your results. It is useful to attend these as they will give you a real feel for the place and the course.
  5. If you’re happy with the course and university and if they’ve made you an informal offer then make an official application through UCAS.
  6. Confirm your place through UCAS and with the institution

‘If you don’t get the grades you need to get in to University, the key thing is not to panic and be proactive. It’s important so you can act quickly and make good decisions says Nigel Ball, All Age Guidance Manager at Sheffield Futures.

‘There’s a good chance that all may not be lost as some institutions may still accept students, if for example grades have only been missed by a grade. The important thing is to stay calm and to be proactive.’ He continues.

‘A really important thing to do is to prepare in advance and decide on second and third choices so that you can act quickly if you find yourself in the University clearing process. If you’ve got these names of institutions to hand then you’re not going to be wasting valuable time researching when how quickly you act may be the difference between securing a place you will thrive in versus one you may not.’

Sheffield Futures provides the careers guidance and advice in schools across Sheffield.

Outside of school careers advice sessions, students can call Star House on 0114 2012800.

A level results day for Sheffield schools this year is Thursday 17th August 2017.

Doing Good Business news!

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Doing Good Business is funded by Big Lottery and the European Social Fund.



Doing Good Business

Doing Good Business is a new programme for people looking for work across Sheffield City Region. We provide one-to-one coaching support for adults seeking employment. This support is offered at their own pace, to fit in with their lives. We will:

  • Provide expertise from experienced professionals and training on key topics
  • Help clients to explore the potential of becoming self employed
  • Support to manage personal circumstances
  • Enable clients to develop their skills and personal strengths
  • Tailor support to meet their needs.

Know someone who would benefit? Get in touch today!

Kevin Osborne (Barnsley, Sheffield): 07940 274 422 or email: Kevin.Osborne@groundwork.org.uk

Paul Davies (Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, NE Derbyshire and Derbyshire Dales): 07973 522 772 or email: paul@clowne-enterprise.org.uk

Nigel Hudson (Bassetlaw, Bolsover, Chesterfield, NE Derbyshire and Derbyshire Dales): 07989 251 333 or email: nigel@clowne-enterprise.org.uk

6f35735c-b4ee-48c8-9049-cbe6f2b6cfc2Doing Good Business helps clients who are furthest from the job market with all of the barriers they face whilst finding employment. We help with training, organising Birth Certificates, writing CVs, providing support, sorting work clothing and finding permanent employment.

Peter had been out of work on and off for a number of years. He wanted to embark on a career in construction but needed help with Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) training. Doing Good Business helped by organising the CSCS training he needed, updating his CV, purchasing a much-needed Birth Certificate and helping him to secure a full time job.

We also provided Peter with vital new work clothing. We organised in-work support and helped Peter to get permanent accommodation!

460434a5-ad07-49ee-9288-2a5f0e8aa3daWe are very pleased to tell you Paul’s story. Paul has Asperger’s Syndrome and has always wanted to set an example and help others with similar conditions. He is also keen to support his local community.

After being out of work for 18 months he decided that he would like to start his own business producing a community newspaper, reporting on the work of local community groups and people, and promoting local businesses.

He approached Paul Davies, an Enterprise Coach for the Doing Good Business programme to get help in providing structure to his plans and to help develop the skills that he would need to grow his business.

Paul is now close to producing his first edition which will be delivered to 15,000 homes and businesses in Chesterfield.

“I just have a couple more advertisers to sign up and we’ll be ready to go” says Paul. “The help I have had from the Doing Good Business programme has been great. Paul has helped me to plan the business finances, write scripts for sales meetings and to develop my presentation skills. He has also taught me some techniques to manage the stress that I sometime experience. We’ve met regularly to plan each next step and that has really helped me to get things going.”

Paul says that his confidence has grown as a result of the support from the programme, and is looking forward to seeing his newspaper help local people.


Doing Good Business runs events to help adults find employment. If you know anyone who is interested and would like to find out more, please contact the Community Engagement Coaches on the email addresses above!

Introduction to Enterprise – find out more about running your own business.
Formula4Success – find out more about what free support and training is available for adults seeking employment. (This event is a collaborating with Groundwork South Yorkshire, Phoenix, Wiseability and Doncaster West Development Trust).
Introduction to Doing Good Business – this event will be open for potential clients to find out about the support on offer and meet the team!

e8491048-7692-4c82-baac-2cd5c03d95f0 (1)We accompanied Zoe to the Sheffield College Open Day one evening and gave her coaching on the type of questions to ask and that she would be asked. She was nervous as she felt she was too old to go back into education. We are very proud to tell you that Zoe has signed up to a full-time course in Media Make-Up which is due to start in September. (Please see the lovely selfie with Community Engagement Coach, Kevin Osborne, below!)

In addition to this Zoe has attended our Introduction to Enterprise event as she is keen to set up her own business once she has passed her college qualification.

742df725-1700-4ce5-a8da-990a30f75280Pete’s Story

Pete was given support to update his CV and search for jobs online. We also supported Pete to do a mass CV-drop on a local trading estate. After we finished the CV-drop, Pete received a call from one of the companies inviting him to an interview! We are currently awaiting the outcome of his interview – expect an update soon!

Pete said: “Just want to say a big thank you, I didn’t expect a phone call for an interview so quickly!”



With a little help from Doing Good Business, James has just started work at Webhelp, after six years of unemployment.

Doing Good Business arranged to accompany him to The Suit Works for free interview suit and gave advice and guidance on interview techniques, a travel plan and fare to interview.

James’ coach, Kevin Osborne did a ‘better off’ calculation, to show him that he would be much better off in work, and helped James to make a claim to Working Tax Credits.

Community Engagement Coach, Kevin Osborne said: “James lacked confidence and wanted to work on his interview skills, I think he just needed someone to believe in him. We are so pleased that he has been successful at gaining employment and we hope his story inspires more people to contact us and see how we can help them!”

Did you know?

Clowne Enterprise is in the process of putting together additional learning opportunities for participants on the Doing Good Business Programme:

  • An online learning platform will provide downloadable modules covering all aspects of starting your own business, from selecting a business idea through to selling and marketing, and managing the business finances. It will also include video tutorials on setting up your own website and making the most of social media.
  • A personal development programme is being developed, in conjunction with Worksop-based social enterprise Lasting Differences.
  • A one-day workshop helping participants to improve their use of social media as a way of promoting their planned businesses will be announced soon.

If you want to be notified when any of these opportunities are available leave your details with Paul Davies at Clowne Enterprise: paul@clown-enterprise.org.uk or call: 07973 522772

Ambassador Inspires the Next Generation of Young Women

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In celebration of International Women’s Day, 8th March, Sheffield Futures has announced their latest Youth Ambassador, Kavita Donkersly, founder of the formidable blog – She Wears Fashion.

Hailing from Sheffield, 24-year-old blogger Kavita is proud to be a Youth Ambassador as she is a strong advocate for inspiring young people to follow their passion like she did.

Kavita said: “I started my blog because I’d just moved schools and I basically had no friends. I was really lonely and I wasn’t particularly fashionable but I felt like there was a community online that understood me and I found creativity that I never realised I had. I’d always been very academic at school and you’re pushed to be very academic, especially because you want to get good grades. Doing my blog meant that I had an outlet and I could be creative.”

Kavita’s blog, She Wears Fashion has gone on to become one of the top fashion blogs in the UK. As a Youth Ambassador Kavita hopes to pass on her skills and experience to the young people that Sheffield Futures support across the Sheffield region and she will be hosting social media workshops at Sheffield Futures youth clubs this year. National Careers Week is also currently taking place and Kavita thinks that young people need to be given the chance to change their minds and discover what they want to do.

Kavita says:When I was younger I wanted to be a lawyer because my dad was a lawyer. I also wanted to be a singer or an actress when I was younger until I realised I couldn’t sing…and I couldn’t act. My blog started as a hobby. For three years I did it because I loved it and it was a way to be creative. When you start something, you should never just expect it to take off overnight. I worked part time in a retail job I hated, so I could save money until I could blog full time. When I first got paid for blogging, I realised I could turn this into a career because my blog was becoming popular. I was really passionate about it and I never gave up. Even if it was just me and my mum reading the blog it was still important to me because I believed in it. It humbles me so much to know that it turned into a job that I love and I wake up everyday and I love it.”

Before she turned twenty, Kavita had never left the country. In the last four years as her blog has taken off, she has had the chance to visit 42 countries. She has been invited to attend fashion week events all over the world. She has met Rihanna and Katy Perry and has collaborated with brands such as H&M, Lacoste and Miss Selfridge. With so much success it may be surprising to find out that even Kavita sometimes still doubts herself.

“Everyone doubts themselves whether you’re in a job like mine or whether you’re in a normal nine to five. You always question whether you’re going down the right path. I never thought I would do something in fashion. Sometimes other people’s opinions of me when they find out I do fashion makes me doubt myself. At the end of the day, as much as I love my job, if it ended up not being a job anymore because people didn’t care anymore, I know I could throw myself into something else. I think a lot of people look at my job and think it’s the best job in the world. I get to travel the world, I get free clothes but one of the worst things about my job is the online hate. There’s always someone who doesn’t like you whether you’re the best person in the world or the worst person in the world. You could be the nicest, most beautiful person and people will still call you horrible things, so you might as well just be yourself.

Building her own brand for the last eight years from scratch has meant that she has had to remain focused. There are many people who inspire here to keep motivated. Kavita explains: “I have to get up everyday and produce content. Weekends aren’t a thing. My job is all the time. There are other women in the industry that really inspire me but the people who inspire me the most are people who have businesses and that have started from nothing. I try not to get to the point where I look up to someone so much that I end up not feeling good enough. I think blogging is hard and a very female orientated industry. I think the media does a lot to make women feel like they should compete with each other and that they’re not good enough, so I try to avoid doing that to myself.“

Kavita wants to encourage young people who are not sure what they want to do after school to visit Sheffield Futures at their Division Street one-stop-shop for support and guidance from their qualified staff. Sheffield Futures also run Careers Clinics in schools across the Sheffield region support young people into employment, further education and training opportunities. As a Sheffield Futures Youth Ambassador Kavita hopes to inspire young people to explore their career options and to try not to feel pressured and stressed about their futures.

“For people who don’t know what they want to do after school, I’d say don’t just do a degree because you feel like you have to. I think if you really don’t want to go to university because you don’t know what you want to do, get a job, graft a little bit. Take some time to figure out what you want to do. No one knows what they want to do at 18, I didn’t”, said Kavita.

Visit www.sheffieldfutures.org.uk/careers-advice/ or contact 0114 201 2800 to see how Sheffield Futures can help you. Please email ambassadors@sheffieldfutures.org.uk if you would like to become a Sheffield Futures Ambassador.

National Careers Week – How Jack turned his passion into Pie!

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Today marks the beginning of National Careers Week, which promotes the importance of good careers education in schools and colleges. British Pie Week also kicks off today, so we spoke with Sheffield Futures supporter, Jack Norman of pop up shop Pie Eyed, to discuss how he turned his passion of making pies into a career and why he would like to encourage young people to pursue a career they love.

Jack Norman, owner of Pie Eyed said: “I never really knew what I wanted to be when I was at school. No one really ever sat us down and said, ‘you know what guys, you can run your own business’. I never expected to be a pie man. I worked at big high street chain restaurants when I was at university. I got to the end of my degree and unfortunately I lost my dad. He had always wanted to run his own business, so I just thought ‘sod it’, and here we are today.”

At Sheffield Futures we work with young people across the Sheffield region to help them plan their futures after school. Leaving school can be a scary and confusing time when lots of young people are unsure of what route to take.

“I went for a lot of corporate job interviews after university and that inspired me not to go down that route. Sheffield is full of great independent businesses and business owners. Sometimes you’re working hard and you think you’re working harder than anyone else in the world when you just want to be home watching television. Then you meet other business owners in Sheffield and it reminds you that you’re doing the right thing and you’re not alone. It gives you motivation to keep going” said Jack.

Jack is a supporter of the drop in sessions that Sheffield Futures run, as well as their Careers Clinics they hold in schools across the Sheffield region. Both services are run by qualified staff that support young people into employment, further education and training opportunities.

Talking about taking the plunge into opening his own business in 2014, Jack said: “The thing is, it is a lot of work. When we started, we didn’t know a thing. There wasn’t a secret pie recipe, we spent weeks looking at how to build your own website. Obviously you can pay people to do everything for you but when you have a small budget, you have to put in a lot of hard work yourself.”

Jack would advise young people who are unsure of what they want to do after school to visit one of Sheffield Futures drop in sessions to help them understand their options. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong in taking your time to discover what you want to do.”

Visit Careers Advice to see how Sheffield Futures can help you.

Young people speak out about the barriers they face whilst seeking employment

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Young people supported by the Talent Match Sheffield City Region (SCR) Programme met to discuss the barriers that face young job seekers. MP Paul Blomfield attended the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science event to discover how the Government can help young people to find employment.

The aim of the Festival of Social Science is to understand how social research informs policy and gives a better understanding of the society we live in. Young people’s futures: fulfilling work in the Sheffield City Region was hosted by Sheffield Hallam University and Talent Match SCR to discover solutions to three main priorities: mental health problems and learning disabilities, transport and employer engagement. These issues and potential solutions were fed back to MP Paul Blomfield, to take forward for positive change.

In Sheffield City Region, 20% of young people (30,000) are unemployed. Since 2014, Coaches from Talent Match SCR have supported 1500 18-25 year olds. Of these young people, 27% have experienced mental ill health, 16% have experienced homelessness and 10% have been convicted of a criminal offence. 97% of the people on the programme have received vital one-to-one support.

The group, made of young people and their workers, discussed how young people reporting poor mental health or learning disabilities can be supported whilst searching for employment. Talent Match SCR have been helping to address any issues by increasing counselling support for young people on the programme. It was suggested that services should be more readily available for people who work full time, for instance, evenings and weekends with an online support network.

Laura, a young person on the Talent Match programme said: “Employers need to trial different ways to support people with mental health problems; looking beyond counselling to things like art therapy.”

Kyle, a young person on the Talent Match programme said: “I have Aspergers and some people I work with don’t know how to speak to me, they’ve even asked me if I’ve processed tasks properly. We need to have a campaign about what language should be used to speak about learning disabilities and mental health. I’m lucky; my Talent Match Coach has taken the time to understand me and knows how to talk to me. The one-to-one support I have is very useful.”

Peter Wells, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University, said: “Large employers might have the correct policies and procedures in place but it’s about understanding the individual.”

Some young people on the Talent Match SCR programme felt that they received support whilst searching for employment, but this support was no longer available once they entered employment. It was felt amongst those in employment that employers should engage more with their workers, with transparent feedback, equal treatment of staff and progressing staff ideas. Kyle said: “Employers need to go to the beehive and speak to the bees!”

Transport is often listed as a barrier for young people seeking employment. Some of the young attendees said that they did not feel confident asking if they were on the correct bus and others spoke about how they were unable to find the correct transport as everything is focussed on digital. “Some of the young people we support are homeless and don’t have a phone with internet access, others often have no credit, or their phones aren’t regularly charged. People presume that all young people are digital natives, but that is not the case with the young people we work with. It all comes down to affordability and accessibility” said A participant at the event.

There are many more barriers for young people seeking employment. Talent Match SCR runs a young people’s involvement team, giving those on the programme the chance to have their say and change things for the better. The group have implemented counselling, to assist with mental health problems, workplace buddies and more.

Paul Blomfield MP said: “I’m glad that [Talent Match SCR and Sheffield Hallam University] are doing this work and I’m really keen to hear more about the issues facing young people seeking employment. One of the challenges of being a Member of Parliament is that I represent 113,000 people across Sheffield and knowing what life is like for them; what the issues are and finding the solutions are only possible when we come together.”

Connor’s Story

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Connor had been doing nothing for a couple of months after completing his Games Development course at college. He visited the job club at Sheffield Futures, where he was signposted to Street League, a sport for employment charity. 

After an initial meeting, he signed up for the 10-week level 1 employment qualification. Connor said: “Street League massively helped me, they made me believe in myself and become much more confident and social.”

After a short placement at PlusNet, Connor now works on the delivery team at KnowHow. He says “it’s brilliant, I love it!”

We’re so pleased that Connor has found employment he enjoys. If you know someone who could benefit from a bit of help and signposting in the right direction, why not visit us at Sheffield Futures? We have drop-in job clubs 5 days a week, see our Careers Advice page for more information.

Connor is pictured above with a Street League staff member.

How you can help

Our charity is dedicated to helping Sheffield's young people to reach their full potential and achieve the best out of life, whatever their starting point. To help us to do more to support young people and communities we need your help. Just remember, every penny you donate will make a difference.