Charity in Blackpool supports young long term unemployed into work

A pioneering programme in Blackpool has helped inspire young people into work.

By Tim Gavell
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 12:30 pm

All the 40 18-24-year-olds were not in employment, education, and training, many lacking confidence, suffering from anxiety or socially isolated since Covid.

Most had been unemployed for 18 months.

But thanks to a Ready For Work programme run by charity and training provider Inspira and financed by Blackpool Council’s Community Renewal Fund, many are now looking to a brighter future.

Emma Shillito (right), Inspira Employability Adviser and Tony Smith, training director with PDP, at The Old Electric in Springfield Road, Blackpool, where Inspira has been running its successful Ready For Work programme for 18-24-year-olds from across the resort

Based in Church Street, Inspira has just finished its final session of a six-month pilot programme at The Old Electric venue in Springfield Road.

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So far, almost half of those who attended after being referred by the Job Centre, have found new opportunities.

Tony Smith from PDP, who works in partnership with Inspira to engage the attendees, said: “The key is making sure on day one that the young people want to come back again. We let them be who they are.

“If it’s death by Powerpoint, if it’s like school, they just don’t turn up.

"On the first day we focus on team-building and problem solving and keeping it enjoyable without forcing anyone to do anything they don’t want to.

“From day two we set out the expectations. They learn how they deal with things when they go well, and how they deal with things when they are not going well.

"These are really important things for anyone to understand which will stand them in good stead in all sorts of situations.

“From that you see people’s skills emerging. You see people showing leadership and delegation.

“By the time they finish the programme they have a different outlook and can see the opportunities open to them.”

Inspira also uses its expertise to help the young people with their job searches, CVs and interview skills.

Emma Shillito, Inspira Employability Adviser, said: “It’s really rewarding to see the difference in the young people’s confidence as it builds over the week and so satisfying to see them go on to take up jobs, training or

volunteering opportunities.

"It makes such a positive difference to them and their lives and also to employers in the town who are looking for recruits.”