Help for young people through volunteering: an ESF project in Sheffield
How volunteering with personalised support helped young people in Sheffield gain qualifications, go to college or find an apprenticeship.
|Location||Sheffield, South Yorkshire|
|ESF funding||Skills Funding Agency|
|ESF target group||Young people not in education or training (NEETs)|
Future:proof, part of Sheffield City Council, used a volunteering-with-qualification project for young people, aged 16 to 18. They commissioned the project from PET-Xi to help the participants into work, college or an apprenticeship. The project was co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Skills Funding Agency.
About the project
The project included work with the participants to:
- find them a full-time volunteering opportunity
- prepare them for volunteering by helping with CVs, applications and criminal record bureau checks, if appropriate
- help them get a relevant qualification while volunteering
- support them and the host organisation throughout the placement
- help them with career choices
- support individual needs, for example those related to childcare or disability
Between March and December 2013:
- 62 young people were involved in the pilot
- 58 started the qualification and 54 achieved it
- 45 went on to further education
- 6 went on to an apprenticeship
Jak benefited from the programme and tells his story in his own words.
My education was a real struggle, I felt neglected by teachers who didn’t believe in me, made me feel stupid, everyone had let me down, including some of my mates. When I left school, my parents were constantly on at me to get a job or go to college. The pressure was intense. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do or where to go.
I enjoyed mechanics at school but my passion was music, making beats on my computer. I figured there wasn’t much point to it because there wasn’t much money in it. I went for a mechanics apprenticeship but it didn’t work out.
I decided to do a volunteering course at PET-Xi. It’s the best decision I ever made. It was so motivational, it made me want to get up in a morning and do something. It gave me a purpose. My confidence levels shot up. The trainers were great and they believed in me.
The best part? Getting a volunteering placement at a theatre working as a Sound Assistant on a play. I shadowed professionals and learnt so much about technical knowledge and sound in a theatre performance. I had never even been to a theatre in my life and it really opened my mind to all the different work and opportunities out there. I met some amazing and talented people. I’d never even considered volunteering. I mean, what’s so good about working for free? Not anymore – I ended up volunteering for a whole month, 7 days a week!’
And now, I’ve enrolled on a Level 2 course in computer and music production at Red Tape Central. I am going to continue volunteering, especially now I have been asked to help out in the studio and I am going to keep looking forward. It’s great!! I am buzzing! And I even get to focus on my music – who’d of thought? And all thanks to PET-Xi.
Funding for the programme has ended but Sheffield City Council and PET-Xi are looking for other funds to continue the work.
Read more about the European Social Fund 2007 to 2013