Erdington Works Employers’ Breakfast Event – 1st May 2014

Erdington District Committee, in conjunction with, Erdington Works, held an employer’s breakfast event on the morning of the 1st May 2014 to encourage Erdington based businesses to employ young people from locality.

Erdington Works was established as one of the six Young Talent for Business ‘Exemplar Projects’ to help unemployed NEETS (young people aged between 16 and 24 not in employment, education or training) in the Erdington District to gain workplace skills and find sustained work. Erdington Works, is funded by Birmingham City Council and delivered in partnership by Witton Lodge Community Association (WLCA), Castle Vale Tenants and Residents Alliance, Castle Vale Regeneration Services, Merlin Ventures and John Taylor Hospice.

Since its launch ‘Erdington Works’ has helped create 18 new work placements and 6 ongoing apprenticeships in Erdington.

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Hosted by Trinity Mirror Midlands (TM), the publishers behind the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Mail, the event was held at their Birmingham Headquarters on the sixth floor of Fort Dunlop.

Delegates tuck into breakfast

Delegates network together before the start of the event

Cllr Bore and Dave Brookes  catch up over a coffee before the start of the event

Cllr Bore (Leader Birmingham City Council) and Dave Brookes (Editor in Chief, Trinity Mirror Midlands)  catch up over a coffee before the event

Delegates awaiting the start of the event

Delegates gather to hear  the speeches and presentations

After a short welcome and introduction the Chair, Dave Brookes (Editor in Chief) Trinity Mirror Midlands, went on to introduce Councillor Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council.

           Councillor Bore offers up his challenge to businesses

Councillor Bore offers up his challenge to businesses

Cllr Bore cited Trinity Mirror as a shining example of a local business stepping up to the plate to deliver real change and investing in the people of Erdington and Birmingham as a whole. He spoke of them as being a fantastic example of a private sector business contributing to and investing in an issue that affects us all  – that of youth unemployment. He then issued a challenge to the businesses present and more widely to all business located in the Erdington District to join Trinity Mirror in acting pro-actively and to ‘do something’ to get people into work, boost the local economy, and to help make our young people feel valued. He suggested business could do this by offering paid employment, training and skills opportunities or work experience to young people to help them into sustained work.  

 Shilpi Akbar, Assistant Director for Employment, Birmingham City Council outlines the many programmes on offer to businesses

Shilpi Akbar, Assistant Director for Employment, Birmingham City Council outlines the many programmes on offer to businesses

Delegates were then provided with information on opportunities available to them by Shilpi Akbar,  who outlined the benefits of the Birmingham Jobs Fund, Young Talent for Business, the National Apprenticeship scheme, and a host of other initiatives and available funding designed to help businesses employ young people.

Some of the enthusiastic young people challenging delegates possible negative views of young people.

Some of the enthusiastic young people challenging delegates possible negative views of young people.

Young people who had had first hand experience of the Erdington Works Exemplar project spoke  movingly about their experience and how the programme had changed their lives. They too challenged the delegates to review and revise their possibly stereotyped views of young people. Urging the businesses present to help give them a start in the work market-place.

Andy Winmill, Urban Devotion

Andy Winmill, from the Charity, Urban Devotion

This was followed by a very impassioned talk by Andy Winmill from Urban Devotion about how the Birmingham Jobs Fund had helped his charity organisation take on a young person and how that had not only helped the young person gain employment, but had also helped improved the effectiveness of his organisation by bringing a new perspective to the way they engage with young people.

Andy George outlines the new B1 job app

Andy George outlines the new B1 job app

Andy George from Trinity Mirror Midlands then spoke about B1, the name for the new app that Trinity Mirror are producing in conjunction with Birmingham City Council. He described  B1 as being basically a dating app which matches up those seeking a job, with companies offering jobs. Initially you need to enter your profile of skills and work experience (a bit like a CV) then the app will link your skills with those being sought by companies offering job opportunities. You will then receive a text giving details of the job and who to contact. The app is still in the testing stage but it is hoped that it will be available in the autumn.

Stacey Barnfield, Editor, Birmingham Post, chairing the question and answer session

Stacey Barnfield, Editor, Birmingham Post, chairing the question and answer session

To close the morning, Stacey Barnfield, Editor, Birmingham Post, chaired a lively question and answer session which provided examined in more depth some of the issues raised earlier in the morning. All in all a very successful morning and during the networking opportunity that followed businesses were able to meet the young people and learn ore about the various funding initiatives available to them. This is the first event to be held in the Erdington District and hopefully future meetings will help find work for the many able and willing young people living in that district.

 

Outcomes

This event was part of the Action Plan put in place to deliver the recommendations of the SIP White Paper. Commitment 1.2 Develop an approach to ‘locales’.  – Locales aim to bring community development and economic development together. It also helps address the proposal to pilot local economic summits in Districts across the city as outlined in the City Council Leader’s Policy Statement 2013.

Places of Welcome come together

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Almost 20 representatives from a range of voluntary, faith and community organisations gathered to take part in a half day event for Birmingham’s Social Inclusion Process initiative, Places of Welcome network on Tuesday 4 March 2014 at the Faithful Neighbours offices in Sparkhill.

Participants were welcomed by two of the Places of Welcome steering group members, Jessica Foster, Near Neighbours and Sarah Turner, Thrive together Birmingham who  explained how the Places of Welcome network was developed from the city’s Social Inclusion Process, which has been led by  Rt David Urquhart , Bishop of Birmingham since March 2012.

As part of the Social Inclusion Process’ extensive engagement across the city it identified seven commitments outlined in the social inclusion white paper with one particular recommendation focused on doing more to support new arrivals in the city whether they are asylum seekers, refugees or they have moved from different parts of the city.

Also, participants heard that a small Places of Welcome steering group was formed to engage with Birmingham’s community, voluntary and faith groups who said that there was a need for Places of Welcome in the community and that five key elements or principles were formed for groups to sign up to operate as a member of the network.

To be a Place of Welcome (Places of Welcome summary nov 2013) there needs to be willingness to offer:

  • an unconditional welcome to local people for at least a few hours a week
  • and to commitment to the five P’s

Place: An accessible and hospitable building, open at the same time every week
People: Open to everyone regardless of their circumstances or situation, and staffed by volunteers
Presence: A place where people actively listen to one another
Provision: Offering free refreshments (at least a cup of tea and a biscuit) and basic information
Participation: Recognises that every person coming to a Place of Welcome will bring talents, experiences and skills that they might be willing to share locally

In a simple geographical mapping exercise (north, south, east and west) individuals represented their groups across the city, not only did it help them develop their own local networks, but it also gave them an opportunity to share their experiences of running as a Place of Welcome. One delegate shared how by offering simple friendship and a hot drink helped one young man boost his confidence to attend a training course, leading him to get a job in the local community.

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In smaller groups individuals shared their hopes and fears, both for their own Place of Welcome and the wider group:

  • Q: What happens if no one turns up? A: Make sure that you enjoy joint activities with those around you, so if no one arrives you have still a productive time
  • Q: Signposting, how do you provide the resource without setting up expectations? A: The offer should be simple with basic support without make your offer too complicated.

Yardley Wood Road Baptist Church, John Glass shared how their group has been running for 10 years and that joining the Places of Welcome network has not only given those visiting an automatic understanding that the place is different to just a coffee morning. But also they are part of something bigger, reassuring and supportive. As a Place of Welcome it has also given them a Place of Welcome kite mark giving agencies the assurance in the standard of care that their clients will receive.

Refugee Action, Phil Davis spoke of how many asylum seekers have fled from their homes (country of origin) under terrible circumstances and moving from area to area through a complicated and difficult system. Very often a smile and simple offering of kindness can help them start to become part of the local community. Phil added that for Refugee Action having a network of Places of Welcome was important as they can direct vulnerable individuals to a trusted place.

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Participants also suggested ideas which would help develop and support their Place of Welcome:

  • A website pin pointing the location, opening times, dates, basic offer and blog to share stories
  • A banner to be displayed outside the Place of Welcome when open
  • Workshops and training to support and develop Places of Welcome
  • A soft launch to agencies and groups, including those of non-faith backgrounds across the city to participate and grow of the network

All the new Places of Welcome received a banner and printed materials which were funded by Barrow Cadbury Trust and presented to them by Debbie Pippard Head of Programmes.

If you or your organisation would like to join the growing network of Places of Welcome and are interested in becoming a Place of Welcome, please contact Sarah Turner or Jessica Foster at the Faithful Neighbourhoods Centre on 0121 675 1155 or email sarah@thrivetogetherbham.org or jess@nearneighbours.com.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/PlacesOfWelcomeBirmingham

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Progress against the Social Inclusion White Paper – Update to Cabinet

It has now been over 12 months since the Birmingham City Council Cabinet approved the Social Inclusion White Paper .  The White paper was the result of an intense period of engagement, analysis and evidence gathering throughout 2012 led by the Bishop of Birmingham and the Social Inclusion Steering group.

On Monday the Cllr John Cotton – the Cabinet member for Social Cohesion and Equalities  – delivered an update paper to Cabinet to update members on progress in delivering the commitments and recommendations of the  White Paper.

You can view the Cabinet meeting item on Social Inclusion by clicking here.

If you would like to read the papers you can do so below:

Delivering the Social Inclusion White Paper

Delivering the Social Inclusion White Paper – App 1

Delivering the Social Inclusion White Paper – App 2

Delivering the Social Inclusion White Paper – App3 EA

Planning Birmingham’s Future and Budget Consultation

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Do you want to have your say on Birmingham’s future following government cuts?

You are invited to take part in shaping a series of discussion events that are being held across the city to find constructive ways to help Birmingham City Council work better with communities.

The first of these events will be connected to the recently launched Standing up for Birmingham campaign which will be exploring the following questions:

  • How communities, local groups and organisations already deliver services differently?
  • How can we build on the wealth of existing community activity in Birmingham?
  • How can we encourage and support more community activity?
  • What needs to happen?
  • What are the challenges?

For further information or to book your place email servicereviews@birmingham.gov.uk for one of the following dates:

Fully Booked    Monday 9th December 10.00 am – 2.00 pm  Fully Booked

  • Open Forum and Community Workshops  – linked to Standing up for Birmingham

The Library of Birmingham, Broad Street

Tuesday 10th December 5.30 pm – 7.30 pm

  • Open Public Meeting

The Lighthouse Suite, St Barnabas Church, High Street, Erdington

Wednesday 11th December 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

  • Open Public Meeting

South Yardley Library

Thursday 12th December 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

  • Open Public Meeting

Nishkam Centre, Handsworth

Wednesday 18th December 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm

  • Open Public Meeting

Bournville College, Northfield


What’s All This Biz? – The context and the content

Thursday 14th November 10am: –  Margaret Way, from Young Talent for Business, is outlining the background and the context for this event and its link to the previous breakfast Youth Employment event held on 24th September, to  the mix of business and young people who have braved the cold wet morning, to attend the “What’s all this biz about?” meeting being held at The Pump in Kitts Green.

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Margaret Way addressing the mix of business and young people at The Pump

The purpose of the event is to enable young people and business people the opportunity to have a conversation about how they experience their interaction with each other and how they can work together to help improve life chances and job opportunities for people who live in the Shard End Ward of the City.

Andy Munro and Ian White from Business Development Midlands Ltd have kindly given up their morning to help facilitate the event and Andy has briefed delegates on what is expected from them.  He has emphasised that we want the event to be informal and conversational in format.

Two apprentices Andy and Daniel from BSA Machine Tools  have also turned up to outline their experience of being apprentices.  How they apprentice 2found out about the opportunity to become an apprentice, and what their experience of apprenticeship life has been like so far. Both young men are very enthusiastic and seem to be enjoying their work very much indeed. They attend college a certain number of days each week and the rest of the time engage in a range of work, enabling them to gain a variety of new skills. They work on three of the highly complex machines that BSA are currently manufacturing, machines that are so complex they are not scheduled to be completed until next year!

After Andy and Daniel have spoken the room is buzzing with excited voices eager to discuss the topics of day. To help aid the discussion and to try and obtain some effective feedback on key issues, some questions have been provided, more as prompts than as ‘must-ask’ questions.

For young people questions they might want to ask business people have been suggested, these are:-

  1. As an employer, what are the main qualities that you look for?
  2. If I start on a minimum wage what are the prospects for advancement after the first year?
  3. Would you be prepared to offer work experience?
  4. What sort of training and support would I get when I start work?
  5. Would you take on a 16 year old/do you have any preferences on what age people are, when taking them on?
  6. How do you recruit and how can I get to hear about jobs becoming available?

and for business people these could be:-

  1.  What is your ambition?
  2. What training and education courses have you been on to date?
  3. How do you look for jobs at the moment?
  4. What has stopped you getting into work to date? eg. barriers such as travel
  5. What could we do to help you into work?

Soon young people are talking about how current apprenticeship schemes are not very helpful as they only provide £100 per week which is not enough to live on if they don’t want to remain living at home. They also want to be treated with respect, and be appreciated. There is also a sense that the young people are looking for meaningful work. Other issues that arise are the lack of adequate career advice early in their school careers, and knowing where to look for jobs, the internet is mentioned but there is so much out there…

One positive and possible outcome is the idea of setting up a facebook or twitter account for young people in Shard End Ward to highlight local opportunities to them.

Those attending from business are keen to engage too, and are eager to seek solutions to issues and problems that have been raised. Some are working in the same sector that the young people are interested in, and business cards are offered and further discussions take place….

A ‘washup session’ takes place where the five table facilitators feedback the key issues that have been raised. The general consensus is that this has been a very successful event and both parties, the young people and the business representatives, have enjoyed the discussion and learned a lot. People are now going off with the intention of following up on some of the suggestions that have been made. The idea of holding another event, to explore these issues further was well received. Watch this space….

What’s All this Biz about? – Thursday 14th November 2013

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Following the successful Youth Employment Event held at Alcoa on 24th Sept we are now holding a follow up event at the Pump in Shard End to gather the views of local young people and stimulate a discussion between them and local businesses about how easy or difficult it is to get into work.

The event is titled “What’s all this Biz about?” and also has a twitter presence at #allthisbiz.

Some 14 busy business people have kindly made themselves available to attend this event and meet up with the young people from the locality to discuss, listen, learn and share ideas about the working environment and how young people can engage with it and benefit from it.

BSA Machine Tools Ltd have not only sent their Managing Director but have also very kindly allowed two of their apprentices to attend and share their experience of work, and what being on apprenticeship has meant to them.

Yesterday The Independent, Page: 18 announced:- “More than 950,000 under-25’s are now unemployed according to the Institute for Public Policy Research, with youth unemployment in the UK increasing steadily relative to adult unemployment.” So this meeting is very timely.

 

Outcomes

This event was part of the Action Plan put in place to deliver the recommendations of the SIP White Paper. Commitment 1.2 Develop an approach to ‘locales’.  – Locales aim to bring community development and economic development together. It also helps address the proposal to pilot local economic summits in Districts across the city as outlined in the City Council Leader’s Policy Statement 2013.

 

 

Social inclusion summit: Working Together for a Fairer Birmingham – 11th Nov 2013

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Today’s Social inclusion summit: Working Together for a Fairer Birmingham is being held at Austin Court, next to the old Birmingham and Fazeley Canal which still provides an exciting mode of transport for visitors to the City.

IMG_0073A fine rain has been falling all morning making David Hockney pool-scapes of the dark canal surface. Clearly, our hope that this would not deter the delegates from attending, has proven true,  for the Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham – who has been leading the Social Inclusion Process since its launch in March 2012 – is currently welcoming some of the 150 or so people who have braved the drizzle in order to attend.

These summits have proved to be a very successful method of community engagement, encouraging people from the whole social spectrum of Birmingham, representatives and practitioners from the Third Sector, Business leaders and workers, member of faith communities, Birmingham City Council staff, colleagues from the Police, and Fire services, indeed everyone who contributes to make Birmingham a truly great city.

The Bishop is remarking on the fact that we all come together, to be together and to spend 2 or 3 hours together to listen to each other and to learn from each other. he goes on to explain how he was attempting to explain to a group of sixth-formers what Social Inclusion is. Addressing the question: How do we make Birmingham an inclusive city? He suggests that there are three levels – first level is the policy level (both local and central Government) and as a Bishop he is invited to address committees in Parliament, then there is practical level which is the level that many people attending this summit engage at, and thirdly there is a pastoral level, which the Bishop explains is more personal and direct for example, helping in your local area and looking after your neighbour.

Preparation is everything – ready for the Social Inclusion Summit – Working together for a fairer Birmingham

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Preparation is everything! Ahead of the Summit the delegate badges are laid out waiting for delegates to arrive with about 30 minutes to go…

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The staff too are eager and well rehearsed and ready to spring into action at the first sign of a delegate!

Summit: Working together and ‘Standing up for Birmingham’ campaign

“Working together” is the key theme of today’s summit being held at Austin Court and the programme will include contributions from successful local collaborative initiatives, including the Birmingham Fair Money Campaign, Alcoa Kitts Green’s community team, the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Research into Superdiversity and locally-based community organisations addressing loneliness and isolation.

Another aim of this Summit is to encourage delegates to get behind the ‘Standing up for Birmingham’ campaign.  

Birmingham City Council leader, Cllr Sir Albert Bore has announced details of a new campaign for Birmingham called ‘Standing up for Birmingham’. The campaign calls for community groups and individuals to play a bigger role in the delivery of services in the light of the Government cuts. Launching the campaign Sir Albert said:

“We must all ‘stand up’ and make our contribution to getting us through this crisis, and the strongest need to do their bit to protect the weakest from the impact of these cuts.

Over the next few years we will need to restate the role of the city council in a new landscape, with far less resources. But that doesn’t mean we give up on our aims, values and priorities for the city.”

I would think that this is something delegates attending the social inclusion process summit, which aims to encourage everyone across the city to work shape the future wellbeing of the people of Birmingham, would fully endorse.

Youth Employment Breakfast event (24th Sept 2013)

This week several key businesses in the Shard End Ward, including representatives from the banking, retail transport and manufacturing sector, met along with colleagues from Birmingham City Council and local community organisations to explore how they could all collaborate  to support the local economy, help deal with high levels of  youth unemployment and address skill shortages in the local area.

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Brian Summers chairing the meeting

The event was hosted by Alcoa Manufacturing (GB) Ltd  at their plant in Kitts Green, long time supporters of the local community, and chaired by Brian Summers Chair of The Pump, which provides help and support for youth in Kitts Green. Delegates were given an outline of the City’s aspirations around Social Inclusion, the Young Talent for Business initiative and the Our Place! project being developed in Shard End, which aims to design and deliver local services that focus on local priorities and reduce costs.

Steve Brittan from BSA Machine Tools Ltd, and President of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, gave an inspiring speech on the role businesses could play by providing opportunities for young people. He also stressed the need to change the image of manufacturing which is still seen as being dirty greasy work carried out on a cold factory floor. He proposed entering into a dialogue with schools and colleges to ensure they are providing the correct training for young people to enable them to engage with the manufacturing industry. He also reminded delegates that business can provide the opportunity for self development; as in his own case where he started off as an apprentice on the factory floor but eventually rose to be the managing director conducting business on a world wide stage.

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The Alcoa community team outline the work they do locally

The Community Team from Alcoa outlined the work they do in the neighbourhood through the implementation of their Corporate Social Responsibility programme. As part of this they have entered into partnerships with over 30 local organisations (schools, sports clubs, day care centres etc) to help develop programmes which improve the local area. Alcoa staff also engage with children at the local International School where they help them with their reading and have seen impressive results.

The meeting then heard from businesses present about the challenges  they face  when it comes to employing young people;  such as young people not having the necessary skills, lacking in self confidence and having no understanding of the work ethic required to engage in a daily work regime etc..

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A delegate from Jaguar Land Rover outlines some of the apprenticeship approaches his company have taken

One delegate considered the problem to be a moral issue in that the young people he dealt with had an unrealistic expectation from life;  they wanted to be pop stars or millionaires without the need to do any work for it, like the Queen song says ‘I want it all and I want it now!’  He blamed the ‘instant gratification’ culture, where young people expected everything to be instant. The idea of thinking and planning for the longer term seemed to be missing from their thinking. Young people need to be taught the value of making long term plans which are supported by their parents and friends.

Monarch Airlines outlined their impressive approach to apprenticeships where they have a policy of interviewing everyone who applies for a job; recently that involved interviewing 650 people! They are keen to meet the individual rather than rely on paper qualifications. This process tends to ensure that the individuals chosen do extremely well during their apprenticeships and become highly valued members of the company.

In a lively discussion delegates contributed further examples of good practice or areas where the current systems need to change in order to make the employment of young people much more straight forward.

Next Steps

All present agreed this was a valuable event and expressed a commitment to work together and try and make a difference for the young people of the Shard End Ward. One of the key next steps will be to meet and hear directly from local young people and what they see as the barriers to work from their point of view.

Outcomes

This event was part of the Action Plan put in place to deliver the recommendations of the SIP White Paper. Commitment 1.2 Develop an approach to ‘locales’.  – Locales aim to bring community development and economic development together. It also helps address the proposal to pilot local economic summits in Districts across the city as outlined in the City Council Leader’s Policy Statement 2013.