The “C” word
We said the “C” word and there was a look of disbelief among the delegates.
Everyone was looking shocked. Were we really saying that the “C” word was something that needed to be discussed on a course aimed at improving the skills needed to secure a job in hospitality?
The delegates on the course were unemployed, some had chequered employment histories, several were claiming ESA (Employment and Support Allowance). All of the delegates on the course had had a tough time. There were people recovering from addiction, people with learning disabilities, people who were recovering from life changing illnesses, which meant they faced large debts. It was no wonder that the “C” word – i,e confidence was in short supply for many of the people in the room.
Labour Market Skills
Red Potato has a mission to connect businesses with local communities. In the South East of England, the unemployment rate is low: The complaint from businesses is that they can’t get sufficiently highly qualified and competent staff from local labour markets. But, despite the demand from employers, there remain many people who are still struggling to secure a job. The reasons they are struggling maybe due to the disadvantages that were previously listed. However those disadvantages, should not mean that they are excluded from jobs. The purpose of our courses on areas such as hospitality and catering is to help people. Help people acquire the skills needed to build a rewarding career in service sector industries. From our experience, rebuilding confidence is central to helping people secure their future.
Delegates on our courses go beyond the technical skills of job search, interviewing and understanding. Delegates are encouraged to network and share their experiences. By sharing experiences the group started to work together. By working together, the delegates then began to see the skills and competencies in themselves. For example, numeracy skills, and skills such as empathy and perseverance. Until this point no one had recognised and valued those skills . So, from this hesitant start the delegates have begun to build confidence. Not just confidence to go and get a job. Instead they have acquired the confidence to challenge society’s expectations of what they can and can’t do.
It was a privilege to work with such a great group of people!
So here’s the thing, you need to communicate with young people about something important, but not urgent. How do you do it?
Here are three quick tips we have learnt from recent work with school and college students.
Test your ideas:
In any campaign you would test your ideas with your target market. Young people are not an homogeneous market that can be easily defined. By asking young people what they think of your ideas, you will get very useful feedback and it will help make your engagement more pertinent and so more likely to be successful. At a recent event we had a great suggestion that the large screen could have a rolling display of social media posts, instead of a video no one could hear!
Create a buzz before the event:
The best way to do is to work with local schools or colleges so that the students are interested in your “message” prior to the event. Clearly this is only appropriate where you are working on a public service/community interest campaign. For example recently we worked on launching the #HealthforTeens website. Before the event we spent lots of time discussing the website themes with schools, so that school students knew more about what was involved and could influence the message, in this case about how to stay healthy!
You need to persevere:
Engagement with young people is not a one off, but needs to be part of a plan. Young people are besieged by messages, and your message is quickly forgotten. To make an impact you need to provide regular useful information that is relevant and speaks to young people. We worked with schools and young people, after the #FutureHeroes Careers Expo to reinforce the messages, because life moves on! Your event maybe important to you, but it will be vying for attention, with all the other things going on; your event is only part of your campaign. To ensure you get your message across, you need to plan, persevere and persist with the campaign.
Young people are interested in what you have to say, but you need to be open, approachable and willing to change. The campaign will be stronger, more successful and certainly more fun!
For the last few months we have been working with colleagues at The Galleria shopping centre. That work will come to fruition this week at the Galleria Jobs Fair!
The Jobs Fair at the Galleria Shopping Centre will highlight the range of jobs that are available now. Even though they are local jobs, for many local people this will be the first time they have considered working for the employers at the event.
The benefit is also for the employers who are coming to the Jobs Fair. The event has been really popular with employers. The event has been so popular that we quickly exceeded the maximum number of places available: Last week we had to find more space for the extra employers who wished to come to the event!
The value of the Jobs Fair will be different according to whether you are a job seeker or an employer. If you are a job seeker and you find your ideal job that is a result for you. If you are are an employer and you find an employee to help your business that is also a result.
But wait! There is also another reason this is a good thing. There is a real reason that the Jobs Fair is good for the local area. New ideas are created, aspirations are raised and change happens, by bringing together employers and job seekers under roof. Here at Red Potato we are pleased to have been a part of this process
Red Potato will broadcast a live video stream from the event in Hatfield; so make sure you tune in to the show via Periscope!
We went along to St Johns Innovation Centre in Cambridge to learn about #Horizon2020. If you don’t already know about Horizon 2020 and you lead an innovative small to medium size enterprise (SME), it is worth reading on.
The event was organised by Enterprise Europe East and discussed the potential support available to SMEs developing innovative technologies. There is a lot of information available; for example there is a quick checklist to see if the SME “instrument” is right for you. There is also a whole new vocabulary to slip into of “DG calls, work packages, concertations and peer reviews” – But that is a story for another blog.
Following the meeting we are now putting together a synopsis of our project which we will get “peer reviewed” – the network of advice from Enterprise Europe, and the Horizon 2020 national contact points is there, why not use it?
Whatever your views about the EU, it is an investor with particular objectives to achieve. Red Potato are planning to be one of the businesses to take advantage of this opportunity. We’ll let you know how we get on!