Over the last few months, we have been exploring a number of ways that we can give back to our local community in the Bristol and South Gloucestershire area. Here are just some of the things we have been up to...

Employer Engagement Session with Ablaze Bristol:

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Our recruiter Amber delivered a speech about employment opportunities to young people on the 'Find Your Path' Programme at the Bristol Beacon, with Ablaze and Natwest. This scheme, a series of employability workshops and paid placement with Natwest, aims to support 16-24-year-olds not in employment, education, or training (NEETs) with readiness for work. This event marked their graduation from the four-month programme, where we celebrated personal and professional growth and development.

You can read more about Natwest's CareerSense programme here: Supporting young people to build essential skills for the workplace | NatWest Group

"All the young people presented with issues and barriers to employment at the start of their journey. These ranged from lack of confidence and self-belief, an extended period of unemployment, chaotic or challenging personal circumstances, financial hardship, and a lack of work experience. Throughout our time working with the group, it was a privilege to watch them flourish and grow, realise their potential, develop their skills and find renewed confidence in themselves and their future prospects"- Sally Melvin, CEO at Ablaze

(Unlocking young people's potential happens through mentoring and unconditional support)

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Ablaze Bristol seeks to address the stark 'educational inequality crisis' that is dividing educational opportunities for young people in the South West.

Alarming research into this educational inequality shows sharp differences in progression rates to higher education, ranging from 8.6% in Hartcliffe in South Bristol, to 100% in Clifton in West Bristol.*

Check out the full report here: *Tackling Bristol’s ‘educational inequality crisis’ | News and features | University of Bristol

It was a privilege to be invited to speak with young people at this event about their future career options. For those interested in working in schools, we spoke on a one-to-one basis about routes into this, and how we can offer support.

Providing Reading Support:

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Our Primary Consultant, Sabrina, volunteered as a reading helper at a local Primary School in East Bristol. One of the books she read to the Primary-aged children was 'SuperJoe Does NOT Do Cuddles', by Michael Catchpool and Emma Proctor...

...SuperJoe is convinced he doesn’t need cuddles from his mom. He flies around the neighborhood rescuing people from escaped tigers, runaway trains, and raging rivers, all while battling his nemesis the Gray Shadow. Naturally, he refuses all cuddles. Until, one night, when he can’t sleep...

This sweet story about a child's active imagination and independence is a timely reminder that everyone needs a reassuring hug from their Mum sometimes!

Sabrina had such a great time helping the Reception-aged pupils with their reading and phonic skills.

Donations to Local Schools:

As part of our ongoing commitment to our local schools, we recently donated a voucher to Ashton Park Secondary School in Bristol, to gift to one of their high-achieving students for outstanding academic progress this term. We have also donated ice creams for the pupils at Stone With Woodford Church of England Primary School in South Gloucestershire to enjoy!

Volunteering at Mock Interview Sessions:

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This term, our Secondary Consultant Beth, and resourcer Amber, visited Oasis Academy John Williams, a Secondary School in South Bristol to assist with their Year 11 Mock Interview Sessions. We also volunteered at the interview session last academic year- it was great to see the progression of the year group during this time!

This time around, the students had completed their work experience placements which were fantastic to hear all about. Some students had worked at a veterinary clinic, others volunteered as a teaching assistant, and some as football coaches!

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We also heard about their exciting post -GCSE plans, with some students looking to study A Levels and others going onto college courses or apprenticeships. To prepare for the mock interview, they had each brought a copy of their newly created CV's. We gave them advice on how to structure their CV's, some handy tips, and what to include. We wish them the very best of luck with their fantastic future plans and interviews!

Our partnership with City of Bristol College:

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Our link with Partners in Bristol at the City of Bristol College has flourished this year and we are so pleased that we have successfully recruited participants on their Level 2 Supporting Teaching and Learning course. This is a SWAP (Sector-based work academy programme) where participants gain new skills and experience in a specific area of work.

You can read more about the courses on offer by Partners in Bristol here: Our Courses | Partners in Bristol

Those on the course come from a variety of backgrounds, some have been out of work as they have been raising children, and others have recently relocated to the UK and are looking for further experience to support them with their job applications. It is also common for learners to have backgrounds in different sectors and they are looking to retrain to work in education.

During the course, they undertake safeguarding, first aid, and mental health training, develop their CVs, and learn further about the practicalities of working in a classroom setting.

We are so passionate about supporting these participants in working as Teaching Assistants with us, from the paperwork required, to the interview process, and even their very first day with us!

Our partnership with the course means that we regularly deliver sessions to new cohorts- owing to the courses growing popularity amongst those looking for work.

We are so excited to continue this, along with our other outreach work, into the New Year, and can't wait to see what 2023 brings!

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