Birmingham and Solihull Youth Promise Plus project has secured more than £13.9 million from the European Social Fund (ESF), along with the same amount of Youth Employment initiative funds, totalling nearly £28million. The funding enables the programme to support young people needing employment, education or training.
Led by Birmingham City Council, the project targets areas of high unemployment across Birmingham and Solihull. It works with young people from a diverse set of backgrounds such as care leavers, young people at risk of offending and young carers by offering them relevant skills that can be used to progress to training, education and employment.
The project works closely with a set of partners including Solihull Council, Birmingham Children’s Trust, The Prince’s Trust and University Hospital Birmingham Learning Hub, and is supported by funding from the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner. It connects young people with opportunities in training, skills, apprenticeships and jobs in all sectors ranging from construction and health care to design and film experience.
The Prince’s Trust specialises in delivering key training, courses, activities, and work experience, which leads directly to qualifications and job opportunities for people up to the age of 29.
Since 2016, Youth Promise Plus has helped more than 4,000 young people into education, training or jobs across Birmingham and Solihull. By 2021 the programme will have supported more than 16,600 young people.
Jessica joined The Prince’s Trust after being referred to the organisation by Youth Promise Plus. She started on the Get Started with Apps programme, which aims to introduce young people to app design and development. After impressing the staff with her practical skills on the course, Jessica was referred to the Fairbridge programme to continue working on her personal and social development.
Jessica had struggled with her confidence and social skills after being bullied at school, which resulted in her dropping out at 15 and feeling anxious to leave the house. On the first day of the Fairbridge programme, it was clear to see that Jessica was feeling very worried around new people.
During the programme, Jessica grew in confidence and improved her social skills. During a Christmas card making workshop Jessica created a great card design and message about her personal story inside the card. This was a turning point for Jessica who received praise from staff and other group members.
As part of the Get Ready programme, Jessica was referred to TEDx youth sessions, which aims to improve communication skills. During the sessions she was selected to be a speaker at the Birmingham Hippodrome for the TEDx Brum event.
Jessica wrote her own speech on her chosen topic, which was about perceptions and how we judge others. She spoke in front of an audience of more than 150 people.
After the Trust, Jessica gained a place at a Birmingham college studying a creative careers course. During the course, she will be able to complete her English and maths qualifications enabling her to move onto games development – something she is very passionate about.
Tara Verrell, Project Manager at Birmingham City Council, said:
The Prince’s Trust are a valued partner and it is no surprise when hearing Jessica’s inspiring story – it is one of many wonderful stories produced by the programme – and we will continue to deliver these stories in the years to come.”
The European Social Fund has certainly helped us with a number of aspects across our services;. From equipment to course fees, it has enabled us to deliver the highest quality training and support. We urge other public organisations and business owners to take advantage of the Fund while it is still available.”
European Social Fund
The project is receiving up to £27,991,124 funding from the European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative as part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme in England. The Department for Work and Pensions (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for the England European Social Fund programme. Established by the European Union, the European Social Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support skills development, employment and job creation, social inclusion and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.
To find out more about the European Social Fund in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area, please visit https://gbslep.co.uk/what-we-do/making-it-happen/european-funding.