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Progress2work: August Update

Progress2work is an adult employability project part-funded by the European Social Fund. The programme seeks to support those further from the labour market using new and tried and tested methods.  

August has been an eventful month for the progress2work team.  Our final Employment Key Worker, Leon joined us at the start of the month and as our team gets bigger, we’ve taken the opportunity for plenty of team building, workshopping and sharing expertise.  

We’ve been continuing on the engagement path, and preparing to begin delivery. While COVID-19 remains at the forefront of our decisions, we’ve been exploring how to adapt to challenges we’re facing, and researching new possibilities for our launch events, taster sessions, and how to deliver our support while staying safe and aware. 

Our networking  last month brought new partnerships in August! We have been setting up meetings with community centre managers and other community representatives. For example, The Life Centre have joined in partnership with us from September, which will be a great base to reach out to clients in Bradford South. We’ve also been in communication with Bradford Moor Surgery, where we have been given the opportunity to work alongside their Social Prescriber to offer a pilot session for the programme. We are currently planning a COVID-19-safe launch for partners, employers and potential clients in September, so building these partnerships will hold us in good stead for developing more.  Stay tuned for upcoming details. 

Our research into local employers and opportunities will be an ongoing aspect of the project, we have been exploring more connections this month. We’ve been working with the aspire-igen employer engagement team, receiving training on using the database and how to make the most of the existing contacts available to us. Our team has been speaking to their own pre-existing contacts and reaching out to new ones to develop and promote the services we can offer to both clients and employers. 

This month we have been creating and finalising marketing materials and increasing our presence in the areas we are operating in. We have workshopped designs to account for representation in photos, language, and tone, in order to reach our potential clients in the most effective way.  

We have started distributing posters in our areas, putting them up in community centres, local cafes, and corner shops. Keep an eye out for the progress2work logo if you’re out and about! We’ve also been making our presence known on social media, joining local community groups and contacting community hubs to partner with them and extend our reach.  

As part of our engagement strategy, we have made our offer clear for clients to know how we can support them. We have created a graphic illustrating the journey that clients would make during their time on the progress2work programme. We hope this will show that while it might not be a simple path, our team will be there to support them through it. You can see this graphic on our project page. We’ve been planning how therapeutic sessions, training sessions and volunteering opportunities can fit into the client journey, and how they could best help our clients move towards their goals. 

In preparation for delivering our support, we have also finalised a range of forms and paperwork for our team. After practice runs and plenty of adjustments, these are now finished and ready for our team to use in supporting our clients. There has also been planning and resource creating for the therapeutic sessions, volunteering opportunities, and training sessions we offer as part of the programme.  

The current situation regarding COVID-19 means that we have to consider its impacts on each aspect of our project. We have encountered challenges to getting some things done, for example, meeting representatives from some community hubs and centres, staff from job centres and one-stop-shops. Some of these potential referral sources are not open to the public, so our team have been limited in certain areas in making connections. To adapt here, we have taken steps to contact other potential links and methods of referral, such as leaflet dropping in places that are still open – bus and train stations, supermarkets, and doctors’ surgeries.  

Whilst planning our launches, we’ve been considering the possibilities for virtual events, taking inspiration from the plans for Bradford Manufacturing Week, and other online events. We’ve also put a higher focus on social media for marketing at the moment, utilising non-contact options that are available to us and our potential clients.  

As we move into the delivery of the project, September will bring new clients, employer relationships and organisation partnerships. We’ll be posting updates throughout the month on the aspire-igen social media through Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

Click here to go to our project page to find out more and contact us.

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