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Stories from some of the people we help.

This project is receiving up to £43.6 million of funding made up of £21.8 million from the European Social Fund and £21.8 million from the Youth Employment Initiative, plus match funding of up to £21.8 million from the National Lottery Community Fund and partners.

Making a difference to lives of 16 to 29 year olds

Michael’s story – Helping with motivation and overcoming barriers

Michael completed his secondary education obtaining grades good enough to seek a job but he lost motivation and his lifestyle became problematic leading him to become homeless. Michael moved into supported accommodation. Black Country Impact advised Michael about the range of different training providers, colleges and local apprenticeship opportunities but his motivation decreased over time.

On Michael’s arrival on Impact we talked about removing the barriers to enable his participation in training, education and employment. He didn't feel comfortable going back into 16 to 18 mainstream education. Through Black Country Impact we looked at putting together a bespoke package based on his interests. We researched jobs he could see himself progressing in and we looked at the job specifications and the qualifications and experience needed. Through Black Country Impact we used this to build a package of support to remove the barriers keeping him from employment like health and safety in the workplace, first aid, and other vocational courses.

Through the support provided by Black Country Impact Michael is now able to take the steps to improve his life and seek employment.

Liam’s story – Finding the right career

Liam was referred to Black Country Impact by Job Centre plus after being unemployed for a period of time, following his decision to leave his chosen career path of teaching. He wanted a change of direction due to anxiety and confidence issues. With this in mind and after speaking with an employability officer, Liam felt that his future employment prospects would rest in the field of office work and general administration.

It was identified that Liam would benefit from a place where he could gain experience of working in a busy office environment, where he could develop both his administrative and interpersonal skills.

Placement at a local neighbourhood learning centre was arranged where he could assist the arts curriculum leader. This involved a variety of duties including:

  • engaging with a range of community groups to identify their arts learning needs
  • supporting the development of learning programmes and workshops
  • contributing to the efficient running of the organisation by maintaining administrative systems and processes including filing, data inputting and archiving
  • providing information both internally and externally by answering routine queries from members of the public
  • working alongside the curriculum leader to support the Arts Factor showcase event by helping to arrange the performances, artists, venue, catering, and distribution of tickets
  • Producing and distributing posters and/or publicity leaflets

Liam received support to identify and apply for suitable employment opportunities. Following on from this support he applied and was successful in obtaining employment with a local employer in an administrative role.

Sean’s story – Support with developing people skills

Through a traineeship… “I will learn more and have work experience.”

“Thanks to my Black Country Impact keyworker I have developed my people skills and being around people. When I was advised that a local resource centre could help me develop and learn I didn’t really want to go on my own so my keyworker met me there for my first initial interview and I was glad to see a face that I knew.

“Now I have moved on to something new - a traineeship programme at a local business, where I will learn more and have work experience, which will help me decide the right type of job I should be looking for.”

Abbie’s story – Getting the skills needed to build the future you want

Abbie has completed level 2 qualifications in childcare and wants to move on to study level 3 health and social care so that she can find employment helping to support others in a caring role.

Abbie was experiencing difficulties getting on to a level 3 programme because of her current English and Maths skills. Working at an entry level for both subjects had become a barrier to her moving on, studying at level 3, or finding employment.

Abbie also became pregnant and this created another barrier, if she were to start a course, she would not be able to fully complete before the baby is born.

Together we discussed options that could be achieved in a short time scale and that would be of benefit to her.

Abbie wanted to improve her level of English and Maths, so Black Country Impact advised her and found a local training provider who was offering a summer programme improving English and Maths skills.

Abbie attended an interview and was successfully offered a place to start on an English and Maths programme over the summer. Abbie was happy as she went on to work towards one of their personal goals which were achievable before she had her baby.

Hellen and Kirsty’s story – Success in getting a job

Hellen

"I have struggled to find help with my English and applying for jobs. I saw an advert for the Black Country Impact project and applied. I received help with my CV and got a work placement with Bella Italia straight away. I wanted a job where I could work with people, helping people and that’s what I got here. After finishing the work placement I took on and I’ve now been with Bella Italia over 3 months. I love the customers and colleagues. Thank you."

Kirsty

"I was referred to Black Country Impact through the local Jobcentre. I’ve been looking for work for 2 years but being a single parent, it’s been really difficult so far. I have used job sites but not been successful. When I came to Black Country Impact they helped me with my CV, identified what work would be good for me and put me on a work placement with Bella Italia. It went so well that I’ve now been taken on. I really enjoy it, people are friendly and the time goes by so quickly. Thank you."

Jessica's story - Helping with tools and finding that dream job

Jessica who started her Business Administration Level 2 Apprenticeship with help of the Black Country Impact during March, said:

“I am excited and relieved to be in my new position after being out of work since May of 2016 and excited to get my qualification and learn new things.”

She explains in full:

“This project has helped me a lot by getting me into an apprenticeship and also helped me by making my CV more professional.

“The staff are incredibly friendly and approachable, the helped me by giving me many opportunities to pursue different roles of work including the apprenticeship I am now in. I would highly recommend the Black Country Impact team.

“I am excited and relieved to be in my new position after being out of work since May of 2016 and excited to get my qualification and learn new things.

“I am aiming to get my qualification so that I may add it to my CV so that I can move up within the employer and to get another job elsewhere if this doesn’t happen for me.

“I received CV support from Black Country Impact when we had our first meeting, they helped to make it more professional and presentable to a future employer.”

Adeela's story - Helping with tools and finding that dream job

Adeela had become unemployed after making a decision to leave her chosen career. Adeela had followed an employment path to be a teacher but realised that it was not for her. After discussing her situation with Job Centre Plus they both decided that her best option was to be referred to us, at Black Country Impact.

Adeela’s chosen career was causing her anxiety and giving her confidence issues, a change in direction was needed. With this in mind and after speaking with an employability officer, Adeela felt that her future employment prospects would rest in the field of office work and general administration but she needed help to make this a reality.

Through working together Black Country Impact identified that Adeela would benefit from a placement where she could gain the experience she needed, working in a busy office environment where she could develop both the administrative and inter-personal skills required.

Through the Black Country Impact, we managed to arrange a placement with a local neighbourhood learning centre, where she could assist the arts curriculum leader.

By taking the placement Adeela learnt the skills she needed for her change in career, these included engaging with a range of community groups to identify their arts learning needs and supporting the development of learning programmes and workshops. The skills this helped Adeela gain included how to contribute to the efficient running of an organisation by maintaining administrative systems and processes including filing, data inputting and archiving. She also gained valuable experience in providing information both internally and externally by answering routine queries from members of the public. Furthermore Adeela worked alongside the curriculum leader to support an arts showcase event by helping to arrange the performances, artists, venue, catering and distribution of tickets. In fact she gained experience in every aspect of the event right down to producing and distributing posters and publicity leaflets.

The skills, experience and confidence Adeela gained through the placement meant that Black Country Impact was able to help identify suitable employment opportunities with local businesses.

Following on from the support gained through the Black Country Impact Adeela has successfully obtained employment with a local employer in an administrative role, helping to give Adeela the start she wanted.

Hayden's story - Helping with tools and finding that dream job

“Black Country Impact project has provided me with tools for my construction apprenticeship. I am happy with them as it has given me a good start and is helping me with my trade.”

James's story - Removing barriers and moving into education

On James completing secondary school he left with grades good enough to help him move towards employment but James lost his motivation, so much so that his life led to him becoming homeless.

With support from local services and Black Country Impact we are helping James turn his life around, he is now living in supported accommodation and with the help of a Black Country Impact advisor has received the advice he needs, ranging from different training options, college opportunities, and local apprenticeship routes. All helping to show James that there is a way forwards.

Through the Black Country Impact service we have been able to work with James and talked through how the barriers he faces can be removed, enabling his active participation in training, education, and employment.

Through working together with James we quickly realised that going back into mainstream education was not going to be the answer, as James wasn’t comfortable with the prospect. The depth of service we are able to provide through Black Country Impact has meant we have been able to put together a bespoke level of support for James that is completely individualised to his own interests.

We have researched jobs James could see himself progressing in and the necessary qualifications and experience needed. With the added service we have been able to offer through Black Country Impact we have been able to build a package of support to remove James’s barriers that have been keeping him from employment, like health and safety in the workplace, first aid, and a range of other vocational courses that he needs to build his career.

The story is good for James and we have helped him plan for a brighter future, helping him identify a range of areas that will underpin any work placements or jobs he may have in the future, and most importantly giving him the self-esteem to succeed.

Engage, rise and achieve

The difference the project is making is best explained by the people that it helps:

“I am really happy with the help I’ve received. Without the help I have received I wouldn’t of been able to do the courses due to being unable to pay for my uniform and equipment needed. I also had help with travel when I couldn’t afford to get to college.”
“When I was unemployed I felt like I lacked purpose and prospects. When I tried to change my circumstance it felt like a vicious cycle where I could not get the opportunities I needed to do the job that suits me. And now, the Black Country Impact has got the young person’s interest at its heart, encouraging young adults to embrace their interest and get a job out of it.”
“I think the project is really good. It has been really helpful for me. I always have someone to talk to and turn to if I need help. I think Aneet [a Black Country Impact worker] is really nice and I have built a trustworthy relationship with her. Thank you.”

Testimonials from participants benefiting from the Black Country Impact.

Black Country Impact ensures that individuals have the best possible opportunity to overcome the range of barriers they face, to improve their readiness for work. This is achieved through traineeships, apprenticeships, work placements and many other options that may work for the individual.