Plymouth charity appeal for support

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Charity seeks funds to continue work with youngsters.

A Plymouth charity is looking for financial backers so it can continue to help young people develop the skills they need to find gainful employment.

The SCORE project was set up 12 months ago to help youngsters not in employment, education or training. It’s hoped additional funding will allow the programme to be widened to include people of any age and background.

There are currently 60 people on the course with seven students over the age of 30 and the scheme aims to help incr ease the workforce in the Health and Social Care sectors.

The programme lasts for six weeks and can provide successful candidates with a Level One qualification. The SCORE team says it’s a crucial step in enhancing and developing key skillsets – either as a volunteer or within paid employment.

Participants engage with classroom activities for three days a week with tea, coffee, biscuits and toast provided during breaktimes. The remaining two days allows students to develop their self-study skills under the direction of their course tutor. 

‘The SCORE Project is about upskilling young people and working on interpersonal skills, including CV writing, letter writing and mock interviews,’ explains Justin Jewell, SCORE Project Manager at the Argyle Community Trust.

‘SCORE stands for Supporting Career Opportunities in Recruiting for Employment. It is primarily for 16 to 30 years of age with a primary focus to tackle the employment gap and to upskill people to get them into the health and social care sector.’

‘We have had a good success rate of more than 80% for people moving into education and employment.’ 

The course mainly takes place at the Brickfields Sports Centre in Devonport where there is a real focus on developing confidence and mental health awareness alongside CV and letter writing. There is emphasis placed on developing interview skills.  

Students engage in a variety of team building exercises which focus on the development of crucial communication and confidence skills. A new intake takes place every couple of months.  

Organisers say the first couple of sessions see youngsters being encouraged to talk about themselves. It’s a key step in helping them to raise their confidence levels and build upon those all-important communication skills. 

Feedback has been exceptionally positive with past participants saying it’s helped their mental health and allowed themselves to feel more confident.

Former students have said how the course has helped them to better manage stressful situations and remain calm when presented with difficult scenarios. One said SCORE had completely changed their life.    

Skills’ launchpad: Ferndale Community Radio.

‘We have good relationships with both major job centres in Plymouth. The skills’ launch pad at Ferndale Community Radio helped us recruit young people onto the course.’ 

FCR station manager, Steve Medlin, had won the £1000 Grace Award and donated it to the community trust as he is a lifelong Argyle supporter.

‘We felt it would be good for the radio station to be part of the Argyle Community Trust as we are both heavily involved in local community projects,’ explains Steve. ‘It’s good to be working with them.’

‘It’s classed as a full time course,’ says Justin. ‘There are three days a week in a classroom environment and two days where participants engage in independent supported study. It’s all about building confidence, resilience, team building and communication.’ 

‘There’s a range of classroom activities, including the creation of something called ‘spaghetti towers’ which aims to test the group’s resilience by constantly altering goals and boundaries to a task that tests resilience and develops coping strategies.’ 

‘The idea is to make a tower out of spaghetti and then change the perimeters of the task so we can vary the base size and include different objects within its design.’ 

‘We can alter timings which really tests resilience as other people have to become involved in its development. It’s a great team building exercise.’

Getting Hired: careers’ fair.

The team encourage youngsters to take part in a careers’ fair called ‘Getting Hired’ where potential employers undertake interviews with participants. 

‘We’ve had success with people undertaking volunteer roles with the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust and gaining employment in the NHS.’

The team encourage youngsters to head out of the classroom area and engage in outdoor activities which further enhance their communication and organisational skillset. 

‘We go to Dartmoor Zoo and take part in an enrichment activity where they work in small teams to make safe structures and objects for a jaguar to interact with. It helps to build friendships and strengthens team building.’ 

The end of the course sees successful participants engage in a celebratory meal and bowling event where they are given a Plymouth Argyle tee-shirt and goody bag to mark the occasion.  

‘After the project, we continue to support them with helping them to find work or to answer any queries they may have when in work. The feedback has been hugely positive.’

The Argyle Community Trust is looking for additional funding to help them continue their work. 

More details about the team and their work can be found on their website:

Main image: Argyle Community Trust’s Justin Jewell and Becky Lacey Sawyer with Ferndale Community Radio’s Steve Medlin.

Additional imagery shows the SCORE project’s team-building exercises. 

Photographs kindly supplied by Argyle Community Trust.

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