Leeds charity Future Opportunities by Learning Partnerships

Future Opportunities by Learning Partnerships

We provided tailored 1:1 and group support and improved the English and Employability skills of those aged 18+ from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME), helping them move closer to/into employment.

Future Opportunities

The project was funded through The Henry Smith Charity for 3 years from January 1st 2020 to December 31st 2022. This project replaced our previous STEP programme where funding ceased in December 2020.

It offered intensive, holistic work with 200 people from BAME communities in Leeds who were facing extreme barriers to employment. We had a full-time Key Worker providing one-to-one coaching and support to 67 people per year.

We not only addressed training and employment-support needs, but also provided advice, information and onward referrals to ensure people’s wider challenges that negatively impact their lives, confidence and ability to secure employment (e.g. benefit entitlements, family support needs) were addressed.

Hear Charity’s Story:

The process

We typically worked with each person for 6-months. We began with a holistic assessment, undertaken face-to-face at our centrally-located offices, lasting approximately two hours. This includes a detailed numeracy and English assessment, covering speaking and writing. If people spoke very little English, some may choose to bring a friend as a translator or we are skilled at communicating with people with lower levels of English.​

We explored people’s qualifications and past employment (if any) from their home country; their current situation and values/motivation in seeking employment. We looked at what roles they’d like to do and the skills they needed. We covered their personal situation, including refugee status, housing, family and health and wellbeing. We reviewed their income and whether they’re receiving the correct benefit entitlements.​

Following the assessment, we worked with each person to create an Individual Learning Plan. Each plan was tailored to the person’s specific needs and goals from our support. Many plans included undertaking an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course, but other elements vary widely depending on circumstances. We then helped people implement their plans, including booking them on our courses (e.g. ESOL and skills courses, such as IT), helping them access courses and support from partner organisations where needed.​

Over the following 6 months, the Key Worker met 1-2-1, face-to-face with each client once or twice a month. Every session was different and depended where the person was on their Individual Learning Plan but, alongside learning English, was likely to include: a) Support with skills development, especially to improve confidence/self-esteem; b) Help accessing other support, including therapeutic help, e.g. if people have suffered trauma before arriving in the UK; help with benefits or getting an NI number; c) Support on effective job search; d) Interview techniques, including mock interviews with employers; e) Coaching on CV writing and completing application forms; f) Arranging work experience placements. In between face-to-face meetings, our Key Worker provided people with support and advice by phone, typically at least once a week.​

Towards the end of the six-months, the Key Worker met with everyone to assess progress and consider the next steps. Based on past results, 56 people (28%) found paid employment during the six- months, (70) 35% moved on to further education or training. Of the remaining 37%, some people’s personal circumstances change and they may no longer be looking for work. Others continued their search using the skills learned during their time with us. Our Key Worker remained available to provide informal advice to everyone until they find a job or stop looking whilst the programme remained active

Leeds charity Learning Partnerships
Leeds charity Learning Partnerships