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@meetoo_helps A huge congratulations to you, @meetoo_helps, and your inspirational work supporting young people đź‘Ź

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BPLW FEATURE: United In Employment

As the second of Newcastle United Foundation’s Barclays Premier League Works programme came to a close we take a look at what is involved for our participants.  

Barclays Premier League Works uses the power of football to engage young people who are currently not involved in education, employment or training (NEET). By using the best of business to train the young people to become work ready and achieve their life goals, providing them with financial skills, confidence and the experience they need to make a positive transition back into education, access training or gain meaningful employment

At the Foundation, Newcastle United’s Barclays Premier League Works is a 15 week employability programme that helps young people between the ages of 16 and 24 move closer to the jobs market. Twenty clubs across the Premier League and Conference League deliver the programme with the aim of engaging 500 young people throughout the country and supporting a further 4,000 young people in Money Skills through Community Championship events.

In June 2015, course two participants from the Foundation’s Barclays Premier League Works programme linked up with Manchester United as part of a cross foundation link up. Newcastle and Manchester United brought the two courses together at St. James’ Park to help add support to each other’s programmes. Through various activities throughout the day both teams were able to learn from each other, find out more about unemployment in other areas of the UK and discuss barriers that they all faced together. For some of the Manchester group, this was the first time out of their own city. This helped to open their eyes to other possibilities and that when applying for jobs to look outside of the box and explore new locations throughout the country.

Throughout the day the two Barclays Premier League Works teams went head to head in an 11 a side, 90 minute game which saw Newcastle win 5-4 on penalties. The group also engaged in a Lifestyles session which discussed alcohol and the effects on health. By engaging in the workshop course participants were able to see how excessive alcohol use might not only effect their health but also how it might affect their personal and professional lives at home and at work. 

Ciaran Donnelly, Manchester United Education Officer, had this to day about the collaboration: “The programme on the day was fantastic with the perfect balance of culture and history surrounding Newcastle United Football Club, education with the workshop and fun with the match between the two groups. From start to finish our group from Manchester thoroughly enjoyed the day. They loved the match, learned lots on the tour and the alcohol awareness workshop that they will hopefully be conscious of in their everyday lives. I had a happy contingent going back down the road to Manchester, which after such a long day speaks volumes about how the Newcastle United Foundation, their staff  and the Barclays group made them welcome. I have struggled to get them to pick out a high point from the trip as when I asked what was the highlight of the trip, they kept saying ‘everything!’”

Following Manchester United Foundation’s visit, the Newcastle based group were introduced to the world of work through various site visits to local businesses. These site visits included trips to Keepmoat Construction Site in Kenton, Scalini’s in Jesmond, The Premier Inn Hotel on Newcastle’s Quayside, BT Call Centre in Gosforth and B&Q DIY Superstore in Scotswood.

The site visits to these leading employers in the North East proved invaluable to the Barclays Premier League participants. Each site visit provided the course participants an insight into a different sector of work and gave them the opportunity to ask questions, find out about each companies recruitment processes and get the opportunity to talk to staff and management.

Each site visit provided a different aspect of work from hospitality to retail, apprenticeships to traineeships.

Alasdair Hill, Project Officer for the Barclays Premier League Works programme said “Each site visit has helped to provide our Barclays Premier League Works participants with the opportunity to explore new routes into employment. We have already seen some interest in participants wanting to gain more experience in hospitality and construction. As part of the course each learner is required to take part in a work placement and as a Foundation we will aim to facilitate this in the best way we can. The work site visits gave each learner an introduction and now it is the job of the Foundations employability team to help the young people reach their full potential and gain sustained employment”.

By using a mix of classroom based workshops with physical exercise in the gym and out on the football pitch the Barclays Premier League Works course provides it’s learners with the skills to succeed in life. From CV building to personal finance the course gives participants the opportunity to build upon their skills, expand their knowledge and gain the confidence they need to impress at interview and hopefully go on to gain sustained employment.

Part of this is by giving each learner the opportunity to plan for their own future the best way they can. Using Barclays Money Skills and workshops based at St. James’ Park and Barclays Regional HQ on Newcastle’s Quayside each learner is able to gain a better understanding around money. This aims to help them budget for the future. Whether that be by planning on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to help them pay rent and bills or plan their travel expenses to get to work each day.

Barclays sessions at the regional headquarters on Newcastle’s Quayside, run by Barclays volunteers gave participants the opportunity to understand their bank statements, and how they can improve on money-saving whilst getting to grips with various other components of banking.

Alasdair Hill, Barclays employability officer for Newcastle United Foundation said “Barclays have been a fantastic help to our programme, and the support from Barclays Headquarters has made a massive difference! Learners have managed to get a better understanding of their own personal finances and if needs be, they know where to get additional support around debt advice.”

To date, over the two Barclays Premier League Works courses the Newcastle United Foundation have helped 12 of their participants gain employment with a further 4 students looking to start their journey back into education at the likes of Newcastle College, Tyne Met College and Gateshead College or into apprenticeship schemes.  

Will Parkin, aged 22 from Gateshead said “Man Utd visiting was an excellent day, meeting and getting to know about people from a different area. The site visit to Scalini’s was a good insight into an area of employment that I have never really looked into or knew a lot about and it gave me the knowledge that there are other sectors of work I could be interested in.

“Going on the residential was a good team bonding experience and we did activities that I have never experienced before.

“Overall I would say I have enjoyed the course, it has been excellent getting to meet new people and experience lots of new things. It’s probably the best course I have been on in my life so far”

Will, who attended more than 56 sessions of the Barclays Premier League Works course managed to gain employment at St. James’ Park during the up and coming season as a member of the match day team. Will attended an open day at the stadium and after an interview was offered a job working for Sodexo, Newcastle United’s in house hospitality Team.

For more information on the programme, contact Al Hill | or 0844 3721892 ext. 8451.

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