Worktree has completed its pilot delivery of two 6-week Action Learning for Employability (ALfE) course with homeless young people at MK YMCA, including a weekly one-hour Career WorkOut session…and the results are positive. 14 participants (58% of registered starters) have progressed to positive destinations: five into employment, two apprenticeships, five into education and two into volunteering.
Over the two courses, Worktree facilitated a total of 445 work conversations between 34 homeless young job seekers and 64 volunteer work guests from 43 MK companies in 12 Career WorkOut sessions at MK YMCA. For the vast majority of participating young people, the project has helped to raise employability skills and confidence.
“This course helps because you meet so many people that you get used to talking to it,” said YMCA resident Ben Nutt. “The good thing about it is it gives us an easy way to talk to people.”
“I’m getting myself onto an apprenticeship in electrical engineering,” said another YMCA resident, Johnny Payne. “If it wasn’t for Worktree, I wouldn’t have been able to do this. Just having them talk to us, and give us a few examples, has really given me the confidence to talk to employers. It’s definitely given me a confidence boost.”
Chloe Markevics, Residents Activities Manager at MK YMCA, said: “The AlfE programme has been a fantastic pilot project here at the YMCA Milton Keynes. By having regular discussions, their confidence and self-esteem has noticeably grown along with their communication skills. Networking also provided a chance for our young people to gain work experience trials, interviews, apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities. Overall, a brilliant project and one in which the YMCA would be pleased to partner with and provide again.”
Funded by a community grant from the European Social Fund, this course was designed along similar lines to the pilot with A4E in 2015.
Simon Green, CEO of MK YMCA, took part in one of the sessions as a participant and shared his experiences of work with the young YMCA MK residents. He said: “Many of our young people have experienced knockbacks in life that lead them to our door homeless and unemployed. Many lack confidence and self-esteem and that affects motivation. In those circumstances the competitive nature of job seeking can be very daunting and alienating.
“The Worktree process used in our pilot was very powerful. It engaged our young people at a human level – they were sitting with, talking to, and looking into the eyes of potential employers in a way that was natural but also less threatening than otherwise might have been the case. That had a huge impact and the success rate for the scheme is really amazing when you take into account the many and varied challenges that the young people taking part in the project experienced. We are desperate to keep this activity going and the impact of the project for the necessary cost provides huge value for money. These are young people who could face a life on benefits without the right intervention and the financial burden of that for society is huge. We have found something that works and if we can find supporters willing to contribute a few thousand pounds then we can help many more young people out of challenging circumstances so that they can belong, contribute and thrive.”
If your company is interested to sponsor or co-sponsor the continuation of weekly Career WorkOut sessions at MK YMCA (see sponsorship benefits), please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 07962 838685 or Simon Green at YMCA. Total cost is approximately £5k per year, but £1k Supporter, £3k Associate and £5k Partner packages all available.
Pictured above, YMCA resident Brett Farrier-Smith receives the ALfE Silver Award for 15 or more conversations with workers from Resident Activities Manager, Chloe Markevics. Pictured below, participants gather after a Career WorkOut session at MK YMCA.