Around 30 local business people attended May's Business for Calderdale event at the OrangeBox young people’s centre, when representatives from local charity Working Wonders described how it has helped some of the 2,000 unemployed young people in Calderdale into apprenticeships and jobs.
Board member and Trustee, Martin Haigh from training company Lattitude7 kicked off the session with an introduction to the charity and how it started, its fundraising activities and its aims to help guide underprivileged young people into the jobs market.
Project Manager, Jayne Spencer, talked about the ‘mum’ role she often adopts with the young people. This can include putting a supportive arm of encouragement around them and even once involved taking a teenager to his new job trial to make sure he got there.
“Travel expenses can be a big barrier,” says Jayne. “Just last week I was at the station giving someone the train fare to get to a job interview. My job often involves helping young people sort out their benefits and housing costs and going to Asda or Matalan to buy work clothes.”
Working Wonders Trustee, Nigel Cliffe from the Marketing Lab then told the audience about his experience of hiring an apprentice. “I knew he had some natural talent with IT, but turning him into a mature individual was a big challenge,” says Nigel. “His experience at the Marketing Lab prepared this young apprentice for the world of work.” Nigel was delighted to report that he went on to further employment and is now earning £21,000 per year and has his own house.
Working Wonders apprentice Stephanie Chatburn gave attendees an account of her own apprenticeship experience. After attending the Make me Ready scheme run by Working Wonders which covers routes into careers, job interviews, appropriate behaviour, contracts and bank accounts, Stephanie got a job at Next Step Trust, the Calderdale charity that supports adults with learning disabilities and complex health needs. She is working hard, enjoying the job and hoping it will become permanent.
Businesses at the event were given the opportunity to pledge their support to Working Wonders through recruitment, sponsorship, work experience placements, mentoring support and fundraising. Ten companies at the event expressed an interest in supporting the charity and all Business for Calderdale members are invited to offer their support.
For more information go to working-wonders.co.uk or call Jayne Spencer on 07807 011948.