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‘Covid Generation’ in Blackburn giving a helping hand

A programme designed to help those worst affected by the job crisis caused by Covid-19, has been helping young people from Blackburn into training or employment. 

Planning Your Future was designed by Newground as a direct response to a request for support from Blackburn Job Centre for 16–24-year-olds. 

People in this age bracket have been dubbed the ‘Covid Generation’ after a record-breaking 538,000 under-25s claimed Universal Credit in lockdown. According to a report from the Alliance for Full Employment, almost one million 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in full-time education or employment will struggle to find work when the furlough scheme ends. 

Using their experience of More Positive Together, Marc Dunne and Joe Geraghty wrote and developed a bespoke employment programme that engaged young people in an interactive environment as well as developing their employability skills and knowledge. 

The programme, which ran for two days over three weeks, helped young people develop their career aspirations and identify their skills before equipping them with techniques to help them secure employment. This ranged from CV building and job searches to interview techniques and mock interviews, both face-to-face and online. The young people were also introduced to further education providers. 

Kieran Waddicor applied for a job at Iceland while on the course and he was offered the role of customer team member to start as soon as the course finished. 

He said “The course developed a lot of skills for me that gave me the ability and knowledge of how to apply for jobs and act in the workplace. It has also given me confidence to work together in a team as teamwork makes the dream work.” 

Another of the course participants secured work before even completing the programme. He contacted a local construction company during one of the sessions and within an hour of sending in an application form, he was offered work to start the next day.  

Two course participants are hoping to secure roles at Together Housing under the government’s Kickstart team, another has started a traineeship programme with a partner agency, one has gone onto a construction course and another to a functional skills course. 

Marc Dunne, Senior Communities Sustainable Officer for Newground, said: “The young people engaged really well and as a trainer it was great to see the personal development and confidence growing in each learner as the course went on. They developed some very important employability skills that will assist them and prepare them for coping and succeeding within the workplace.” 

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