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.
Delegates network together 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 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
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
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.
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, 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 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
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.
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.