Youth Employment Project
Gateway STEP has been offering young people the opportunity to gain valuable qualifications and work experience. The Youth Employment Project was established through Tower Hamlets Council’s Community Alcohol Partnership to help tackle the issues of underage drinking and anti – social behaviour.
The Youth Employment Project aims to:
• Empower young people to get back into the workforce;
• Create positive diversionary activities for young people;
• Support participants to work towards an accredited employability skills qualification;
• Offer young people the opportunity to gain valuable customer service and retail work experience.
During August, Gateway STEP worked with TH Council and Sainsbury’s to offer a group of young people the chance to complete a City and Guilds Level 1 Certificate in Employability Skills followed by a two week work placement with Sainsbury’s in Whitechapel.
Sessions were delivered at Gateway’s dedicated training facility ‘The Zone’ and involved a series of workshops on interview techniques, application forms, careers advice and guidance, customer service and retail operations.
The Getting on with Money project also provided a workshop on budgeting skills and transitioning into work. Jemiah Wesley, 17, said: “The money management workshop helped me to think about my future and plan ahead. I am going to save £1 a week, which comes to £52 at the end of the year.”
On completion of the course, young people moved on to 2 weeks practical work experience at Sainsbury’s Supermarket. Throughout the two weeks, they were mentored by senior members of staff at Sainsbury’s working in a number of different departments to obtain as much experience as possible.
Farah Miah, 17, said: “The course has really helped boost my confidence. I enjoyed my work placement so much that I asked my mentor about job opportunities at the store. He told me they will be recruiting temporary staff for the Christmas period and I’m definitely going to apply!”
Nika Hodireva, 17, gained a number of transferable skills whilst on placement including customer service and till work. She said: “I had the opportunity to work in different departments and interact with customers. I think the most important skill I learned is how to provide excellent customer service. You have to listen to the customer and do your best to help them.”
Store Manager, Rob McCracken, was extremely pleased with YEP trainees saying: “Feedback from colleagues has been really positive. The young people added real value to store. They were pleasant, friendly and professional and we enjoyed having them here.”
STEP Coordinator, Neda Haghshenas said: “With a qualification and work experience, it will hopefully give young people in Tower Hamlets community the confidence to find employment at Sainsbury’s or elsewhere. I hope participants will use this opportunity as a stepping stone to future study and career and contribute towards positive activities for the community.”
Here are Neda’s top-tips for job-seekers:
Networking is a great way to discover potential job opportunities. By attending various careers events such as job fairs, employer workshops and recruitment events you will be able to talk to employers in person to find out about different jobs. You can also use your network of previous colleagues, family and friends as they may be able to help you to generate contacts.
Finding work can be difficult, so get help! There are a number careers service providers in Tower Hamlets similar to STEP that offer free advice and support with finding work.
All work experience (including voluntary and work placement) will help you to develop your skills and stand out to employers.
Use professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter to communicate directly with employers. Gateway STEP runs computer courses for beginners but you can also use the computers in your local Idea Store.
Find out about different professional and vocational training courses in your local area and apply! Most of courses are free if you are in receipt of benefits.
If you are looking for work, planning to return to work after a career break, or if you would like to improve your skills and qualifications please call: 0208 709 4499 or email: STEP@gatewayhousing.org.uk.