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Progress2work: June 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.  

National Volunteering Week 2021 was held at the start of this month, and the progress2work team have been getting stuck in and holding a range of activities in the run up to the week! Our team have held a 3-week long schedule of events to recruit, work with, and celebrate the volunteers on the programme. Read on to learn about the variety of sessions across the scope of the project promoting the project to clients, partners, and volunteers.

Our Walk and Talk sessions have been given a revamp and our Volunteer Training Coordinators (VTCs) have run 3 sessions in Leeds and Bradford across the last 3 weeks. Piloting these new sessions has been very helpful for our VTCs to learn what works for our clients and how we can engage volunteers to run the Walk and Talk sessions in the future. We got some good feedback from the clients who attended and enjoyed some brilliant views in the summertime sun!

Walk and Talk Session: The view of Roundhay Lake!

In the first week of June, we held a virtual information session with one of our partners, Smart Works Leeds. Amy ran a workshop through Zoom, with participants logging in from home, and from The Opportunity Centre in Bradford. The session covered tips and hints for interviews, and an introduction to the Smart Works service. The charity offers interview coaching and preparation for women looking for work, as well as a free interview outfit to make sure the candidates are as confident as possible! Again, we got some really good feedback from the clients who participated, and two have already been referred for the service!

Tea and Talk sessions were held for our over 50 clients, including talks from some of our team members about their own experiences of job search and unemployment as over 50s themselves. One attendee has said: ‘I found it very helpful and good to know that someone has shared my experiences’. The team are planning on holding more of these Over 50s Tea and Talks, as the feedback we have received shows that informal chats and discussions – rather than structured sessions behind a desk – are more beneficial to our clients. They promote a calm and friendly atmosphere and help get our clients more comfortable and confident talking within a group. Keep your eyes peeled for a full schedule of Tea and Talks due this summer!

The VTC team ran a Zoom session promoting the progress2work project, recruiting volunteers to support the project. We spoke to students and careers professional within colleges and universities and discussed how our volunteer recruitment programme could help them. Becoming a volunteer with progress2work can boost employability prospects by improving skills, increasing confidence, and even gaining a reference for job applications. With the added bonus of getting involved and supporting local communities, our volunteers can access group sessions and activities held by our delivery team!

We held our first Deaf Awareness session during Volunteer Week too! Our volunteer Dawn did the presentation with Hadji, one of our VTCs, at Sensory World in Dewsbury. We got some great feedback, from a mix of clients and other attendees from the centre. One client said: ‘I learnt a lot in today’s session. It was a small presentation with a powerful message’. We are hoping to roll out our Deaf Awareness presentations across our areas, starting in Bradford. If you would like to attend, or get involved, please contact Hadji at hadji.singh@theopportunitycentre.com.

As you can see, out National Volunteer Week campaign has been chock-full of different exciting and engaging activities. It’s been a great opportunity to pilot some new or improved sessions, try out some different activities, and speak to various audiences about the project. We’re looking forward to what the next few months hold, and how we can support volunteers to support their communities.

If you want to get involved with the progress2work project, either as a volunteer or a client, contact the team at progress2work@theopportunitycentre.com!

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

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