Two inspiring young A4e customers have been back to the House of Commons to meet MPs for the second time in a month.
Daniel Wright, 25, and Philippa Gough, 22, topped off an incredible year by attending a Parliamentary round table event held by the Employment Related Services Association (ERSA), where they impressed Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb.
Both had tackled adversity – Daniel was homeless and depressed and Philippa overcame an anxiety disorder – to graduate from an innovative back-to-work training scheme and win jobs with Southampton social housing provider, Radian.
Radian’s scheme, part of the Give Us a Chance (GUAC) consortium’s Proving Talent programme, takes on young jobseekers from the Work Programme, delivered in Hampshire by A4e for the Department for Work and Pensions, and gives them the support and skills they need to get their first step on the career ladder.
On June 17, Daniel and Philippa were personally congratulated on their achievements by Employment Minister Mark Hoban at a House of Commons reception, co-sponsored by A4e, to celebrate the work of the GUAC.
Just 10 days later, A4e took them back to Parliament for the ERSA event.
Guto Bebb Conservative MP for Aberconwy and member of the Public Accounts Select Commitee, said: “ For Philippa and Daniel, having the courage to speak to MPs about their experience was testament to just how far they have both come since joining the Work Programme – and another excellent addition to their already impressive CVs.”
Philippa and Daniel were among the first wave of seven young people from Southampton who came through the company’s pilot project successfully.
A second set of nine placements has been launched in the town and, after the success of the pilot, Radian is hoping to help many more young people in the area by rolling the project out across its different departments.
A4e selects candidates aged 18-24 from the Work Programme to put forward to Radian for consideration for the scheme.
Radian, which manages 21,000 homes across southern England, gives the successful candidates on the job, paid training, which is supplemented by further training from A4e, as well as support and mentoring to cope with any extra barriers to work, such as homelessness, family breakdowns and disability.
The scheme is supported by the Youth Wage Incentive Scheme, which offers employers up to £2,275 for every young person employed from Work Programme.
Participants are encouraged to develop the skills that will enable them to make a lasting contribution to the employer. Radian encourages them to look at all the roles available within the organisation and to work towards finding their areas of excellence and ambition.
If the housing association cannot offer graduates from the scheme a job, Chris Adams, Radian’s employment and training manager in Southampton, and his team look for alternatives .
Building connections with local employers who are themselves running innovative youth employment schemes is a crucial way in which A4e has improved job outcomes within the Work Programme. We have helped almost 16,500 young people into employment since the Work Programme started through a series of innovations, tailored training courses and partnerships.
The Work Programme, now in its third year of operation, provides tailored support for unemployed customers who need more help to undertake active and effective job-seeking.
Over the last year, A4e has been working hard to establish an excellent team of professional staff with a range of specialist skills to support individuals across the UK. The flexibility given to service providers by the Work Programme has meant that A4e has been able to create a number of innovative programmes and specialist training to support local customers.