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

Tash Bright No Comments

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.

Twelve Days of Sheffield Futures!

Tash Bright No Comments

Sheffield Futures, showed they could rock around the Christmas tree by releasing a video of staff performing the Twelve Days of Christmas, with a charity twist!

The Marketing and Communications team and re-worked the song to celebrate successful activities raising funds to give Sheffield’s young people the future they deserve. Throughout the year Sheffield Futures run activities and campaigns aimed at giving young people education and employment opportunities, whilst also helping young people at risk in Sheffield. The local charity has done lots of vital youth service work over the last 12 months, so to finish of the year on a light-hearted note, they put on their Christmas hats and sweaters and showed that although they play a positive part Sheffield’s future, they may not have a future in music.

Whilst the harmonies may be few and far between, the Christmas spirit comes in bucket loads. You can see the full version of the video on the Sheffield Futures YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4-Jj63Oa58 and the video is also being released in 12 segments on social media until Christmas Eve. The song’s lyrics detail many of the ways that Sheffield Futures help young people to succeed, “Sheffield Futures gave to me life guidance for a better me!”

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

Tash Bright No Comments

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

Tash Bright No Comments

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.

Volunteering helped Sheffield teen find her future career

Tash Bright No Comments

Volunteering at Sheffield Futures, was the starting point that helped local teen make positive changes in her life.

Nineteen year old Courtney Castledine was filled with excitement as we spoke to her on the first day of her new full time job at Talent Match Sheffield City Region. Courtney began volunteering at Sheffield Futures at the age of thirteen after a series of challenges at school. Sheffield Futures provides local young people with the support and opportunities that enable them to make positive choices in their lives.

Growing up, Courtney explained how she didn’t get on well at school: “I struggled with all sorts at school…I wanted to do the best I could but found it difficult.” Courtney’s school referred her to Sheffield Futures who have links with schools all across the city.

Courtney defines her mentors at Sheffield Futures as part of her family. Speaking fondly of her time volunteering, she describes how she got involved with art projects at the local youth clubs that Sheffield Futures run. She particularly enjoyed designing anti-bullying posters: “I was so passionate about designing the posters, helping other people was all I ever wanted to do. I wanted to use my experience to give something back and help other young people”

At age sixteen, after volunteering at the youth clubs, her mentor suggested she go for the role of Young Advisor at Sheffield Futures. Young Advisors are paid to help organisations make their services youth friendly. As part of Young Advisors, Courtney went on to win the National Young Advisors Impact Award. She stated: “Being a Young Advisor built up my confidence massively. I wouldn’t be able to sit here and talk to you if I didn’t have all the previous experience. I probably wouldn’t have got the job I have now.”

During Courtney’s time as a Young Advisor she applied for a Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship through The Source, which helped her to secure her new full time job as an Admin Assistant for Talent Match Sheffield City Region. After completing the Apprenticeship Courtney has now been kept on and is helping to coordinate support for other young people aged between 18 – 24, looking to gain access to employment, education and training.

We can help you in many ways, from careers advice, to volunteering opportunities!

Young man lands dream career in Engineering with support from Sheffield Futures

Ruth Durkin No Comments

Mikias Misganew, a 17-year-old Engineering student, accessed our Job Club when he was unable to progress in his studies due to his level of English.

Mikias was disappointed that improving his English skills was going to delay the completion of his Engineering qualifications. He was keen to stay on track with his studies, which would ultimately lead to his ideal job.

Paul Spencer, a Targeted Youth Support Assistant, worked with Mikias to explore his options but explained to him how important a good use of English would be for his future. He helped Mikias to look for engineering training providers who would allow him to continue with his studies alongside studying English.

Paul contacted several training providers to see if this would be possible for Mikias and managed to find somewhere for him to complete his Level 2 Engineering course at the same time as an English course.

Mikias was appreciative of the support he received from Paul at the Job Club, and is currently applying for apprenticeships for when he has completed the Level 2 qualification. He said: “I want to thank Paul so much for everything he’s done for me. I am enjoying my course; I am getting the hang of it and it seems to be going fine. I appreciate everything Paul has done for me from the bottom of my heart.”

Paul feels great job satisfaction in being able to help young people such as Mikias. He said: “Mikias is now coming on in leaps and bounds. I kept in touch with him when he started his qualification to ensure he was coping. He was so grateful for the support and advice we gave him, but I’m only doing my job. I could see he was interested and keen to carry on in Engineering so I wanted to help him get sorted.”

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.