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A4e delivers frontline public services on an increasingly global basis. Operating from over 200 locations, A4e now operates in the EU, Middle East, Africa and Australasia. Our customers / service users are individuals, organisations and communities. Our funders are Governments and their agencies and departments.

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  2. 2. blueprint Contents neWS 4 Events and news from around the world VieW FrOM tHe CHAir 5 Emma Harrison, A4e Chairman, looks forward to the challenges of the new year turninG A COrner 6 How youngsters in Stockton are being 23 20 given a chance to learn valuable vocational skills tAKinG A neW DireCtiOn 9 KeepinG AHeAD OF tHe lAW 20 We look at one scheme that has helped a Free legal advice is making life easier for once-homeless client to gain skills as a chef the citizens of Hull tHeir 15 MinuteS OF FAMe... 12 OpiniOn 22 A Doncaster team had their lives turned Michael Davis, Managing Director of CFE, on upside down by the arrival of a Channel 4 employment and skills policies documentary team GettinG it tOGetHer 23 OpiniOn 15 DOWn unDer Mark Lovell, A4e Executive Chairman, on The creation and growing importance of how to ride out the credit crunch A4e Australia MOneY tAlKS 16 in tHe SuburbS 26 A financial training scheme is helping How a programme in youngsters to stay out of debt France is giving job opportunities to those FreeDOM OF CHOiCe 18 in deprived areas We look at how being able to choose 10 in ten and employ carers is changing the 28 lives of disabled people Pam Kenworthy, Legal Director of Howells Direct, answers our quick-fire questions Flexible New Deal (FND) Update A4e welcomes the changes that Flexible New Deal will bring. These changes mean that we can spend more time with marginalised and harder-to-help people, developing individual, tailored programmes to enable their return to work. Tenders have now been submitted for Phase 1 FND contract areas – thanks to those of you that have expressed an interest in working in partnership with us. We are now looking forward to Phase 2 and would again welcome any organisation who wishes to work with us. We will shortly be setting up a registration process for FND Phase 2 at: www.a4e.co.uk/Partnerregistration.aspx. We will also be contacting all organisations who have registered previously to invite them to express interest in the districts covered by Phase 2. Please keep checking the site for updates, and we look forward to working with you in the future. 2 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  3. 3. up FrOnt: COntents From the editor JO BLUnDeLL grOUp DeveLOpment DireCtOr, a4e W elcome to the new year issue of Blueprint, which you’ll find packed with all the latest goings-on within A4e, as well as important issues that surround the business. I hope that you’ll enjoy reading about what’s happening in various sectors of A4e, and how we’re continuing to help people get success stories have resulted from the Pathways to Helping back to the jobs – and lives – they deserve. Work programme, part of which A4e is delivering. You’ll also notice that there’s a new face in town. Elsewhere, one of our teams in Doncaster was in those from I’m very pleased to have taken the reins from Sara for a nice surprise – and more than just 15 minutes McKee, who has moved on to pastures new. Many of fame – when a Channel 4 documentary maker less fortunate thanks to Sara for all her hard work and dedication chose the team to star in a film about the welfare backgrounds – I can only hope to make as good an impression system. Doncaster’s Elevate team was selected to on A4e as Sara has over the years. We wish Sara the appear in the documentary after Elevate Trainer, is at the core very best of luck in her new job. Hayley Taylor, made a great impression on the You’ll have been hard-pressed to escape the ups series producer. He felt that Hayley had the energy of A4e’s and downs of the economy over the last few months and passion to inspire her clients – all of whom are – and, as such, this issue of Blueprint focuses fairly lone parents – to get back into work and training. ethics heavily on making the best of what can only be You can read their fascinating story on page 12, and described as difficult economic conditions. A4e’s find out what it was really like to be in front of the Executive Chairman, Mark Lovell, talks about how camera for weeks on end! Finally, we’re delighted that A4e Australia is to help businesses survive the recession, and why it’s even more important to support A4e’s more taking shape – we’re currently pitching for contracts, vulnerable clients. Read more on page 15. and hope to receive news later in the year as to Helping those from less fortunate backgrounds whether we’ve been selected to run them. Find out is at the core of A4e’s business ethics, and we were more about the business, and the issues that A4e delighted to read the story of one of our Pathways Australia is tackling, on page 23. Enjoy the issue! clients who became an apprentice chef – having been homeless, and never previously having a job. You can read his story on page nine, along with that of Anna Rayner, who overcame depression to train as a complementary therapist. Anna now runs her own business, and also works from various other complementary therapy centres, too. Both of these prODuCeD bY: Cambridge publishers Ltd (www.cpl.biz) GrOup DeVelOpMent DireCtOr: Jo Blundell, a4e to contribute to Blueprint, contact Jo blundell on jblundell@a4e.co.uk or call free on 0800 345 666. A4e Head Office, bessemer road, Sheffield S9 3Xn. Opinions expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of a4e Ltd or Cambridge publishers Ltd. blueprint winter/spring 2009 3
  4. 4. uP fronT: round-up News Plymouth £2.5 million Getting down programme goes live to business The exhibition Business start-ups are attracted more than not limited to those 2,500 visitors from all within mainstream backgrounds, in care industries, as one A4e and medical disciplines. team found out when Many new they attended the Kidz entrepreneurs who Up North exhibition attended may end up at the Reebok Stadium working within the NHS/ in Bolton. PCT arena as carers, Sarah Whittaker, advisors and in other Mark Fegan and Robert social enterprises, while a Clark from A4e’s NDDP number of delegates are Connect to Work actively seeking to start team, based in Preston, businesses in a attended the exhibition, completion of job and A4e Plymouth Works A £2.5 million European number of more together with Neil e-applications. Plus advisors will offer Social Fund programme specialist fields. Allday, Matthew Slack Anyone aged between one-to-one support to to develop employment ‘We are now in the and Ray Parkes from 16 and 65, who works clients in areas including: and skills opportunities process of working with Business Start Up. fewer than eight paid information; advice and in the South West’s a number of females who Kidz Up North hours a week, will be guidance; sourcing and biggest city has gone attended the exhibition. targeted children with eligible to apply for a funding of educational live in Plymouth. They are looking to disabilities – both share of the £2.5 million and vocational training; A4e Plymouth Works start a riding school mental and physical – cash pot, whether to enrol voluntary work; soft Plus held a prestigious for disabled children, a which is not an obvious on a new employment skills development; launch with Job Centre school for children with group to look towards course or for some low motivation; Plus at the Copthorne special needs and also when considering new kit to start a job, confidence; job skills; Hotel to highlight a sensory play centre business start-up according to Carol Boyd, CV creation; interview the benefits of the for blind/deaf children opportunities. Contract Co-ordinator at techniques; setting up programme over the or older children with ‘Our target audience Plymouth Works Plus. email accounts; and the next 36 months. mental health issues,’ was not the children, said Allday. but the occupational ‘With a little foresight, therapists and other Training for over-50s welcomed the less obvious health professionals marketing strategy often that look after the and flexibility. the planning of the The first major project bears the best fruits children,’ said Allday. Employees were government’s new to test demand for and opens new markets ‘Many go on to become surprised that anyone Adult Advancement careers advice and for the Business Start self-employed carers, was interested in their and Careers Service, training among older Up enterprise.’ for example.’ needs, but when the and for its Train to Gain people in work has service was offered, programme. just finished in the they grasped it with Responses from south east of England. enthusiasm. employers and Over two years, Two thirds of them employees were very the project, called said that they were positive. More than ReGrow, provided able to do their jobs 80 per cent of firms careers advice and better, half planned to identified benefits from follow-up training to take further training, the advice and training, 1,139 people aged over and a third said they and more than half of 50 working across the would probably stay employers said that it region. in work longer as had increased workers’ It has important a result. motivation, productivity implications for 4 bluePrinT winter/spring 2009
  5. 5. uP fronT: view from the Chair New year, new somerset celebrates employability skills challenges by everyone. The Celebrating the A4e Employability achievements of 30 programme is funded clients who gained new by the Learning and qualifications in literacy Skills Council. The 15- and maths, the A4e W week voluntary course Taunton office recently hen I get back to my desk after the starts from entry levels had a visit from local festivities – usually having over- one, two and three, and MP Jeremy Browne, who indulged, but also having caught up then goes on to level was able to see how the with all my family and friends – I like one and two (GCSE) LSC Employability Skills to focus on the way ahead. I really believe you need qualifications. programme was working to recognise the achievements of the previous year Browne said: ‘I am in the town. and use them as the platform on which to build the very impressed by Organisers for the successes we will see in the new year. the dedication of the A4e LSC programme This year is definitely not without its challenges. tutors and staff at A4e at Victoria House in We heard in December from the Secretary of State, Taunton. And those out Taunton are keen that, James Purnell MP, about the drive for further welfare eMMA HArrison of work for long periods when clients pass their reform in his White Paper, and the desire to help Chairman, a4e are getting the support 15 week studies, it is more people get the skills they need to get back into they need.’ officially recognised work. A4e’s mission is to improve people’s lives, and I firmly believe that we can help thousands more people achieve their goals and build their future. news in brief However, we’re all expecting a tough year with the economic downturn and rising unemployment, but WelCoMe To Scotland; and Information You need to it is more important than ever that we don’t leave Manager for one of the THe TeAM Business Gateway areas in anyone behind. Let’s not forget, most of the clients Evelyn Rimmer has recently recognise the Scotland. She joined A4e as Enterprise we support are long-term unemployed with more began her career in sales Development Manger, barriers than most to overcome. But that’s where we achievements and administration, while also to support and develop need to be even more creative and innovative in our running her own marketing enterprise project delivery of the previous business. approach – and that’s what A4e people are really across the company. Evelyn has more than good at. isrAel in THe year to build 17 years’ experience of With the fantastic team at A4e, we’ve been able to sPoTligHT developing and delivering successes in grow a small training business from Sheffield into A Labour Friends of Israel start-up and business (LFI) event was held at the an international social purpose company. We’ve support projects, most the new year House of Lords recently, which recently working for a UK- entered new markets in Israel, Germany, France and brought together politicians, wide housing association Poland – and who knows, we might start improving eMMA HArrison academics, charities and the (Places for People). Her role people’s lives in Australia this year! We’ve also seen think-tank community. The while there was to develop topic for discussion was the changes in our staff, and I’d like to thank everyone and deliver community- evolution of the New Deal based enterprise projects for their fantastic contribution and welcome all new in Israel and the UK. Guest in Manchester, Bradford, arrivals to A4e. You have my full support. speakers included James Leeds, Edinburgh and So let’s put our best foot forward, and embrace Purnell MP Secretary of , Newcastle. These provided State for Work and Pensions; the change and challenges ahead of this year. With intensive start-up support to David Blunkett MP Chair , disadvantaged communities all these new horizons, together we can make a real and member of the LFI policy through awareness-raising The A4e team in Australia difference in 2009. is set to be busy this year. council; Mark Lovell, A4e events, workshops and one- Executive Chairman, and to-one support. She was also Dr Jason Elis. part of the winning team for Members of the audience the Housing Corporation’s found it interesting to hear ‘Gold Award for Tackling about Israel’s domestic Worklessness’ earlier this year. policy challenges and how Evelyn’s past roles they compare to Britain’s, include working for Wellpark while other attendees said Enterprise Centre in Glasgow, that Mark Lovell’s comments where she managed the were extremely relevant development programme for to their work on British women-owned businesses; domestic policy. InBiz as Area Manager in bluePrinT winter/spring 2009 5
  6. 6. focus on: vocational training Turning a corner Having issues at school can lead some youngsters down the wrong path in life – but for the lucky ones, learning in a vocational centre can give them the Some youngsters who are excluded from school or struggle with mainstream provision carry their skills they so badly need feelings of worthlessness with them throughout their lives, and never regain the confidence to make W hile being in full-time education something of themselves. However, various schemes is a good thing for most young that have been set up across the UK are designed to people, it doesn’t suit everyone. train excluded youngsters in vocational centres. There are times when learning in an The Vox Centre in Stockton on Tees, which environment in which you feel an outsider or as if was opened by A4e in September 2008, was the you’re not gaining much can be counter-productive, brainchild of Vox Centre Manager, Lee Beresford. and that’s when problems arise. Designed to provide ‘first steps’ training to 6 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  7. 7. focus on: vocational training youngsters aged ‘real world’ business. The girls from the Vox Centre enjoy learning practical skills on 14-19, who require an ‘A4e has invested the hair and beauty course. alternative education heavily in providing a to school that better first-class vocational suits their learning facility to support style, the students the needs of young gain experience and people whom we are qualifications thanks passionate about to vocational training. improving the lives The idea is to enable of,’ said Sally Orlopp, young people to Director of Education become better-prepared for A4e. for post-16 life, be it in ‘We feel we can add further employment, value for young people training or by becoming by offering a different one of the area’s future range of provision entrepreneurs. with the key being ‘I felt that there was partnership working, a gap in the market which in return for vocational training adds value.’ locally,’ said Beresford, The youngsters are who had the vision to take the idea forward referred from 14 different schools throughout the after putting the concept to the A4e senior Tees Valley, as well as from referral agencies, and management team. consist of a mix of mainstream and non-mainstream After consultation with Stephen Lidgard, who pupils. When the centre opened in September, it is in charge of A4e’s vocational centre provision welcomed 30 young people – now, it has 112. A4e nationwide, the Stockton facility was based on the currently has six members of staff based at the ground-breaking Grimsby model. centre, while a further two are due to be employed In-depth consultations were undertaken with shortly. Charlotte McCann, a Year 11 pupil who’s schools in Tees Valley via the Education Business Partnership to find out what young people really needed and where they needed it. Gaps that were Some youngsters who are excluded from identified both geographically and in skills provision school carry their feelings of worthlessness with highlighted the need for vocational training in areas such as retail, construction, catering, and them throughout their lives, and never regain the hair and beauty. confidence to make something of themselves Real world The Vox Centre aims to provide a programme that is flexible, inclusive and inspirational to cater for every Based on a business park, student’s specific needs. the youngsters benefit from the experience of The fact that the centre is located on a ‘real world’ other companies. business park, shoulder-to-shoulder with a diverse range of companies, makes it different to other vocational centres in the area. It also adds value to the experience for the youngsters taking part, meaning that they are working side by side with real- life businesses and benefiting from the knowledge and experience of the people around them. The centre provides meaningful alternative education for the young people of the Tees Valley, and eventually, it will be open to the public to give the students a real taste of working life. What’s more, it’s currently the only vocational centre in the area offering retail training. Future plans also include master classes involving local entrepreneurs, further enhancing the youngsters’ experience of blueprint winter/spring 2009 7
  8. 8. focus on: vocational training currently studying hair and beauty at the Vox would boost the local economy. He also wanted to Centre, is over the moon that she’s been able to put something back into the community. do something that she’s interested in. ‘It’s the best ‘It is amazing what young people in the area thing out of the whole of education that has ever are capable of achieving,’ he said. ‘A4e is giving happened to me,’ she said. Referred by New Start, youngsters the opportunity to see the real world of Charlotte is thoroughly enjoying her vocational business, as well as giving companies the chance to training. ‘If you ever get the chance to attend the integrate with the workforce of the future. Vox Centre, then I really recommend it!’ she added. ‘We can see that by working in partnership with The Vox Centre’s facilities are flexible and can A4e, we are really helping to improve the prospects also provide opportunities for working with a of young people in the Tees Valley area.’ diverse range of client groups, from young people to harder-to-reach adults. making your mark Because vocational centres offer a service so unique to excluded pupils, a further centre is due National Enterprise Week, part of Global to be opened in Leeds in early 2009. More are Entrepreneurship week, is a national celebration planned across the UK, with the aim of having 10 of enterprise in November with events organised It is vocational centres by the end of 2010. A4e currently all over the UK. During the week, more than 2,000 amazing what have similar centres in Grimsby, Pontefract, West organisations run events and activities to encourage Bromwich and Mansfield. young people Key player are capable Local businessman Nasser Din, Managing Director of achieving. of Supreme Property Developments Limited, had the vision to develop the business park in partnership A4e is giving with Stockton Council via European funding. so many Nasser Din was a key player in supporting the project. He recognised that to sustain the future youngsters the workforce in the area, he needed to help young opportunity people to gain the right employability skills. This, he reasoned, would help improve the to see the performance of local businesses, which in turn real world of Youngsters get a taste business of real working life at the Vox Centre. nasser Din, supreme property Developments limiteD people to make their ideas come alive – this could be something such as starting a new business or social enterprise, or making new ideas happen in the workplace. It’s crucial to encourage people to make their way in business – with the economic situation in the UK on something of a knife-edge, having the skills, knowledge and a can-do attitude to work is more important than ever. Those who can implement ideas, overcome challenges and possess the skills to spot opportunities often fare best when there’s pressure on jobs. And creating a culture where youngsters have the confidence to make their mark on the world means that people from any background will have the opportunity to unleash their ambition on the business world. For more details, visit www.makeyourmark.org.uk. 8 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  9. 9. at the sharp end: patHways to work Taking a going back to work can be hard when you’ve been on incapacity benefit – but one scheme is helping people do just that new direction A nna Rayner spent several years on incapacity benefit – she’d suffered from depression and anxiety for several years, her motivation was at an all-time low and she didn’t know where to turn. But after conquering her illness with the help of alternative therapies such as aromatherapy, reiki and mediation, she soon felt ready to return to work. Having visited the Disability Employment Adviser at her local Jobcentre Plus, she was pointed in the direction of the Pathways to Work scheme run by A4e, where staff helped Anna to identify her interests. It was there that she realised her future lay within the realm of complementary therapies. A year later, with the support of Pathways, Anna gained the relevant qualifications and experience and now runs her own complementary therapy practice (www.rayoflight.me.uk). ‘It’s really amazing what you can do with the right support,’ says Anna. ‘The last year has taught me that you are never on your own, and that help is there if you need it, regardless of your circumstances. ‘I feel completely different from how I did a couple of years ago,’ she adds. ‘A lot of people want to start a business and never get round to it – but you’ve got to be a risk-taker to be an entrepreneur. I feel as if I have developed as a person and I know myself much better now. From feeling low in confidence and self- esteem, people are now coming to me for advice.’ Vital support Pathways To Work is an independent service for people in receipt of incapacity-related benefits. It provides impartial advice, training and support to those out of work, to help and encourage them to find employment in an area that they’re suited to. While some clients are referred from their local Jobcentre Plus, others come to Pathways directly. Kate Goodman, National Pathways Director for A4e, explains some of the difficulties that the Pathways clients face. ‘Our customer group is still judged by many because of the way they look, by the benefit they are on or by the condition we label them with,’ she says. blueprint winter/spring 2009 9
  10. 10. feature: offender management Jason Burns, Training for Life Manager at Dartmouth Apprentice. Building relationships ‘This can lead to our customers feeling ashamed, embarrassed or unable to be open about their Steve Carter is an Employer Engagement Consultant circumstances and desires. from A4e Pathways in Torquay. His main role is to ‘We have had customers who have not been go out and source job vacancies, meet potential specific on their CVs about their condition, the employers and build good relationships with them. employer has subsequently discovered this and it However, he does get involved in the client side of has resulted in the person being dismissed – not the service, too, and recently managed to secure a because they weren’t doing a good job, but because homeless client a place as a trainee chef at a new they had lied in order to get the job. Would this have venture called Dartmouth Apprentice. Similar to happened if they had added an A-level or two, or said Jamie Oliver’s 15 restaurant, Dartmouth Apprentice that they had lots of hobbies in order to look good? trains unemployed young people while they work ‘What makes my job worthwhile is when you alongside professional chefs in the restaurant. see people’s lives turning around, that point when They gain hospitality industry qualifications, and somebody realises that they are not useless and that at the end of their apprenticeships, they get help Former Pathways client they have a lot to offer. Our Pathways teams really to find jobs. Anna Rayner is now a do make a difference, and I’m really proud of them.’ Twenty nine-year-old Lee Harvey was homeless and complementary therapist. jobless when he came to Torquay Pathways – he’d fled from County Durham with his girlfriend due to difficult circumstances, and was living in a tent in Brixham, Devon. Steve Carter, co-incidentally, had What makes my job worthwhile is when you just heard about Dartmouth Apprentice when Lee see people’s lives turning around, that point when arrived in the office, and decided to try to get Lee on the scheme. somebody realises that they have a lot to offer ‘Not only was Lee homeless, but he’d also got a criminal record having been in prison four times, kate goodman, national pathways director for a4e 10 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  11. 11. at the sharp end: patHways to work he’d been on drugs, and had never worked in his life,’ says Carter. ‘A lot of people would have written him off, but I wasn’t going to.’ Carter met up with staff at the newly opened Dartmouth Apprentice and managed to arrange an interview for Lee. ‘We sorted out some new clothes for Lee, and the other Employment Coaches in the office were brilliant – they ironed them, turned up the trousers, and got Lee ready for his interview. Thankfully, Lee was accepted. ‘It took up a lot of my time and affected my targets, but I wasn’t worried about that,’ he continues. ‘We then had problems finding Lee and his girlfriend A lot of people want to start a business and never get round to it – but you’ve got to be a risk-taker to be an entrepreneur anna rayner, former pathways client accommodation. Dartmouth is very smart, and there’s no run-down bedsits that you can rent cheaply. We got talking to Dartmouth Homeless Trust and managed to borrow some of the money needed for a deposit for a flat, and borrowed the remainder from A4e – which Lee is paying back. ‘It’s been a great success. Lee loves it – he’s even The first day they moved in, I bought them some doing double shifts. He’s hoping to train to be a chef groceries and helped them with essentials, and then and really enjoys getting up and going to work – it’s Lee started work. just transformed him. I’m so proud of him.’ case study: ‘my life has really changed’ Lee Harvey, 29, was homeless and jobless before being accepted as an apprentice at dartmouth apprentice ‘I started at Dartmouth Apprentice in September 2008 – I’d never done anything like that before. The work has been going brilliantly, and I’m a lot further along than when I first joined. I’ve been preparing the meals, and I’m also looking forward to getting my catering qualifications, which I hope to be doing soon. ‘I’ve even got my own starter on the menu at the restaurant – it’s a sandwich with Parma ham, salami, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, and it’s going down a storm. A lot of people are ordering it. ‘My life has changed a heck of a lot over the past few months. Before I started here, I wasn’t working and I was always getting into trouble. But thanks to A4e and the Dartmouth Apprentice, I’ve been able to do something useful. I’m really grateful to them all.’ blueprint winter/spring 2009 11
  12. 12. Feature A DocumentAry on DoncAster eleVAte Their 15 minutes of fame... Being picked to be part of a tV documentary But what was the idea behind the documentary in the first place? Series Producer Fergus O’Brien is a distant dream for most of us – but for a wanted to make three films looking at welfare provision in the UK from top to bottom, and see team in Doncaster, it became a reality how government policy is formulated and then ‘I implemented through senior civil servants in charge don’t do handouts here,’ says Carolyn of procurement. Kendrick, Business Manager for A4e ‘The reason I’m so excited about it is that it’s been Doncaster. ‘What we do is teach our about 12 years since anything’s been done on TV learners to support themselves and find on the welfare system, and so much has changed their own way to the life they want.’ in the role of companies who are now actively It’s this kind of philosophy on which A4e involved,’ he says. ‘I wanted to see how that would Doncaster has based its skills courses that help get trickle down the departments, and also how the the unemployed back into work or training. And the private sector get involved. teaching of these courses is so good that it recently ‘The main thrust of the documentary is the attracted a Channel 4 documentary team to the human angle – the emotional stories of people Client Dawn Schofield gets offices. The stars of the programme, all of whom who are trying to get back into the workplace, a real taste for work. were involved in Doncaster’s Elevate course, will either because they want to, or because they feel appear on TV in the autumn. that there’s some sort of growing pressure due to Elevate is an A4e course which helps lone parents the changes in welfare legislation to get working. I get back to work. It starts off by building up the wanted to follow their journey.’ clients’ confidence and motivation, before working on issues each client might have experienced in the past – such as problems with interviews or I was so nervous – once your words are recorded personal issues. Once the client feels ready and has identified an area of work they’d like to go into, on camera, you can’t go back and re-phrase them work placements are arranged for seven weeks and the client is supported throughout. Hayley taylor, elevate tutor 12 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  13. 13. Feature: DoncAster eleVAte in the spotlight A4e trainer, Hayley Taylor, helps to motivate Elevate client Yvette Brown. A real experience terms of a TV programme, you need something that looks very proactive, that gets the clients For Elevate Tutor Hayley Taylor, the experience of involved. It was apparent to us very quickly when being shadowed by a camera crew for six weeks we visited Hayley that she had a real energy and was nerve racking, but exciting. ‘I got a call from passion for what she was doing which was quite the producers saying that they were making a infectious – and we knew that the camera would programme for Channel 4, and they arranged to pick up on that.’ come up and visit. Then about two weeks later, The clients, despite the fact that they were all they rang to ask if they could film one of my out of work and many had been away from the Elevate courses! job market for some time, rose to the challenge. ‘At the time, I was very nervous, especially According to Taylor, they knew from day one that when they were filming the classes. They there would be a film crew around, and yet they still would ask me questions and I’d have to think turned up for classes and came on board. on my feet all the time and come up with the ‘The clients loved it,’ she says. ‘If anything, the answers you’d hope you’d say – but you never Elevate client Lyndsey Ward crew boosted them even more. They felt that if they actually know what’s going to come out until gets busy during her could deal with that kind of intrusion, they could you say it! Once your words are recorded on work placement deal with anything. camera you can’t go back and re-phrase them.’ at Doncaster Poundland. ‘A couple of clients explained to me that they For Fergus O’Brien, Hayley Taylor was were a bit nervous, but after the second week, they just the person he was looking for. loved it. I took them out for dinner in a pub one day, He wanted to find a course with and with everyone looking at them, they felt like someone running it who had stars. It’s been really good for them.’ the energy, drive, focus and structure to keep the Adding to success course vibrant. ‘All courses vary from According to Carolyn Kendrick, profile raising place to place, so we can only aid A4e Doncaster’s success in helping spent a lot of time to gain the respect and understanding of more looking at different local organisations and employers with a view to tutors with different forming partnerships. ‘We want to achieve results approaches,’ he says. which improve people’s lives,’ she says. ‘I run several ‘They were all successful courses besides Elevate, such as Skills for Life, in their own way, but in which raises literacy and numeracy in line blueprint winter/spring 2009 13
  14. 14. Feature: DoncAster eleVAte in the spotlight The hardworking A4e team in Doncaster. with the government’s Skills for Life Agenda. We ‘tHe parents Felt tHey have excellent job outcomes with this course – were in a bit oF a trap’ 55 per cent of clients gained jobs as a result during Fergus o’Brien from studio lambert is the October and November 2008.’ series producer of the channel 4 documentary Other courses include Gateway – a two-week on the welfare system. intensive job search programme; Full Time Education and Training for 18-24 year olds who The main have slipped through NEET provision and require further guidance into the world of work; Progress thrust of the to Work, which helps to overcome the problems faced by those recovering from substance abuse in documentary re-entering society; and Link Up, which helps those is the human recovering from alcohol abuse, the homeless and ex- offenders find a way back into employment. angle – the ‘We teach our learners to support themselves and emotional find their own way to the life they want,’ explains Joanne Simmonds, an Elevate client, enjoys chatting to the customers in Poundland. Kendrick. ‘In November, despite growing fears over stories of the economy and news of redundancies at every ‘I think what struck me most was how many of the people who turn, my team put 44 unemployed people into parents felt that they were in a bit of a trap because jobs. And not just any 44 people – many of these they had lost so much confidence – they couldn’t see a are trying to came to us with multiple barriers to reaching the way out, and their problems were exacerbated by debt. employment market. ‘What a lot of them were waking up to, like us, was get back into ‘I am incredibly proud of the team here,’ she adds. the realisation that it’s quite a complicated situation the workplace ‘Our centre is full of passion fun and vibrancy. The when one gets into a routine of being on benefits. work we do is demanding and we need support Lots of things keep people stuck in that place. Fergus o’brien from each other to give us the continued strength ‘Some of the greatest changes took place at and energy we need.’ the start. We could see that the biggest problems For Taylor, being part of a documentary made her lone parents faced were that their self-esteem and really proud. ‘It’s a real compliment to have been self-confidence had been completely eroded. The chosen to be in a film,’ she says, ‘and it’s something challenge for them was to face up to that and rebuild that I’ll be able to keep forever. It’s good, too, to be a it. As we followed their journey, we saw them face a role model for my daughter – and I’ll be able to see lot of their demons and learn what it was that had myself at my peak in years to come!’ been stopping them. It was an amazing experience.’ 14 blueprint winter/spring 2009
  15. 15. oPinion: MARK LOVELL Where credit’s due it – for example, covering relaxation for Train to The declining economy has Gain eligibility, extension of debt advice, better confirmed to Mark Lovell that access to welfare and skills provision in the event of redundancy – are all good policy decisions. Over robust finances are key the last 18 months we have been clear that it is not additional spend that is required, but greater to a better business flexibility to spend existing funds more effectively. O We will need more public sector investment, but first let’s make what we have function brilliantly. ver the last six months, I have spent To do so, we need to respond to the needs of a fair amount of time with financiers our customers – individuals and business – and people in the financial services Mark Lovell believes that working quickly, and with the full spectrum of A4e industry. It’s been an interesting time, with governments in the UK and overseas will help A4e’s most and its partners’ services. Joined up front line and it has reinforced some basic and simple truths vulnerable clients. public services have never been more necessary. about running a good business. Importantly, it By focusing our attention on making this happen has reiterated to me that one of A4e’s strengths and working collaboratively with governments has been its prudent approach to ensuring robust in the UK and overseas, we are able to support finances, even though we are such a high growth our most vulnerable clients. This means we can business. All of this stands us in good stead for the do our bit to limit next two years. the impact of global Core to what A4e does is supporting vulnerable Over the last 18 months recession on the people, their communities, businesses in those economies where communities and tackling poverty, economic we have been clear that it is not we work. There is an development and social development. As the additional spend that is required, enormous amount of discussions in the media, in government and pragmatic concern in business have turned to dealing with recession – but greater flexibility to spend the labour markets and the speed of its impact – I have continued to existing funds more effectively and also much economies, remain focused on those things that I can influence but and control, where we can contribute to easing the Mark LoveLL, a4e executive chairMan more optimism and impact of economic downturn and stimulate growth. determination than During a recession, one of the challenges is that sometimes gets the poorest and most disadvantaged always get hit reported in the media. the hardest. A4e’s role is to minimise and mitigate against this. The economic impact of the current situation is different to that which I experienced when building A4e in the early 1990s, and what I saw as I grew up in the 1980s. We now have a more diverse economy, with greater resilience and a more co-ordinated series of business and governmental responses. Equally, in this early stage, we see opportunities for enterprise, job creation and skills development (for skills shortages in business) still holding up. This will get more difficult in the first half of next year, but at the same time as rising unemployment figures, we still have a very robust number of jobs being created in the economy. We still have a large number of stubborn, hard-to-fill vacancies as well. At the entry level for jobs, we are holding up well, but we know this will get harder next year. In response to this, we are driving enhanced join up and flexibility across all A4e’s services. The Pre-Budget Report and the announcements before bLuePrint winTER/spRing 2009 15
  16. 16. feature: Managing MOnEY Money talksKnowing how to manage Usually she’s well-received. ‘The feedback I’ve been getting is that this had been a long time coming,’ money and stay out of debt she said. ‘It’s whetted the appetite of professionals to hone is crucial to young people, Upskilling skills they’ve learned on this course. The FSA is keen especially in the current for us to identify champions in local authorities and young people other organisations so that, when A4e pulls out in economic climate – and to understand 2010, the programme will stay alive.’ Prisoners are especially vulnerable to ignorance of financial training is helping financial affairs personal finance – as Justin Coleman, Enrichment is key to youngsters do just that Manager at HMP Ashfield, near Bristol, which houses 400 young offenders, is well aware. ‘They need this helping to sort of education, particularly with the recession M break coming on,’ he says. anaging money is a key life skill, but Unfortunately, the time available in life skills one that not all young people possess. poverty cycles classes proved too limited to offer financial education. Now the Financial Services Authority However, Coleman has been working with A4e since (FSA), in partnership with Citizen’s and ensure June 2008 to remedy matters. ‘We had a new group Advice and youth charity Fairbridge, has created a social mobility of officers on the wing and felt the time was right to programme to help young people not in education, start teaching them to pass on basic financial skills,’ employment or training become more financially in the next he said. capable. In an increasingly complex financial generation Following a visit by A4e to Ashfield’s training landscape, this initiative is well overdue and A4e is at centre, the officers received training and resources the heart of training people to make it work. Mel DoDD, with financial information pitched at a level Stakeholder Engagement Manager Kerry Anne a4e prograMMe everyone could understand. ‘It went incredibly well,’ Davies has travelled the country to encourage Manager for Young said Coleman. organisations to make a long-term commitment. people anD MoneY 16 blueprint wintEr/spring 2009
  17. 17. feature: Managing MOnEY Toni Ebanks, Manager of Rolfe House, a foyer for young people aged from 16 to 25, run by Birmingham housing support organisation Midland Heart, also believes that a structured approach is the way forward. Although Ebanks and her 14 staff have offered budgeting tips while imparting life skills, this was done informally before they were contacted by A4e and underwent training. Rolfe House has 24 residents. ‘Most of their financial problems are generic,’ says Ebanks. ‘A lot of young people have never had to pay bills – they’ve relied on mum and dad.’ Around 20 people, mainly education staff, have The training package includes guidance for completed A4e’s training so far. With Ashfield’s staff working with young people on matters such inspection out of the way and routines returning as bank accounts and benefits. Practical material to normal, Coleman hopes the programme will includes work plans and discussion templates. build momentum. ‘In time, with the backing of Information on signposting was particularly helpful, wing managers, we’re hoping 100 staff will undergo Ebanks commented. financial training – which will be around 25 per Most residents live on their £45-a-week Jobseekers cent,’ he said. Allowance. A small contribution to accommodation Success is hard to quantify but, from observing leaves about £40 for food, toiletries and travel. ‘But young offenders during evening association, when you get groups of young people together, Coleman is convinced it’s having an effect. ‘They talk sometimes those aren’t priorities – they’re more about financial problems they may face in a focused interested in going out,’ said Ebanks. way,’ he said. ‘If they aren’t aware of them, it could trip ‘We do affordability plans for them. If they’re in them up. We’re trying to avoid offenders re-offending.’ l Up until the end of debt with rent arrears or a telephone bill, we signpost October 2008, 2,172 Preventing debt them to organisations such as Citizen’s Advice delegates had been (CAB). If they’re going to college, we can tell them Jean Brown, Manager of Careers Wales, sees young trained by A4e in how to apply for education maintenance allowance. people stumble into debt frighteningly early and England, Wales and ‘We’ve used the toolkit for four months and have wants to help prevent it. She’s dismayed by the Scotland. The target is a budget guide for everyone. It makes our work more irresponsibility of some institutional lenders. ‘We’ve 8,100 by the time the professional and helps staff reconsider the situation seen instances of 16- to 18-year-olds being given store contract ends in 2010 the young are in. Most residents respond well, but cards,’ she says. l Funding is provided sometimes you’ll get one or two who won’t stick to Among the bodies Careers Wales works with through the FSA – the plan.’ closely is Pembrokeshire Action for the Homeless. with no costs to the Mel Dodd, A4e’s Programme Manager for Young Brown hears ‘time after time’ stories of people evicted organisations concerned People and Money, added: ‘Upskilling young people from their homes, ‘more often than not because l Training is further to understand financial affairs is key to helping to they’ve got into debt.’ The effect on family life and supported by a CAB break poverty cycles and ensure social mobility in the schooling can be devastating. Money Advisor at next generation. We believe that this programme has After finding out about A4e through the FSA, each course the potential to help improve the lives of thousands Brown began to organise training in April 2008. l For further information, of young people in the UK.’ People who have taken part so far include workers visit www.a4emoney.co.uk/ in youth offending and leaving care teams, as well ypm or simply as housing officers from the council and housing call 0845 189 8081 associations. But how does she gauge its effectiveness? ‘We undertake observations with our staff to see if they’re putting it into practice,’ says Brown. ‘I think it will be more long term before you can see the impact. I’ve done it myself – it makes you look at yourself and how you manage money.’ Above all, Brown hopes the financial education will help young people avoid the follies of their parents: the lure of easy credit, and paying mobile phone bills – but not the rent. ‘The effect on their education is enormous if they’re evicted, relocated, and have to go into bed and breakfast,’ she said. blueprint wintEr/spring 2009 17
  18. 18. Freedom of choice Being able to choose carers and employ giving individuals money in lieu of social care services. This means that they have much greater choice as to them directly is giving disabled people the who provides their care, and in this respect, they act as employers. But those who may be worried about freedom to live their lives as they wish the paperwork and the associated employment L issues involved needn’t be, as help is at hand. iving – or caring for someone – with a The Direct Payments service in Southwark is disability can take a great deal of getting managed by A4e, which has a team in place to offer used to, especially if the situation arises guidance and support to users. Isabelle Clement, unexpectedly. Not only do extra support, Southwark Direct Payments Service Manager, care and help need to be provided, but families also explains how the system works. have to get used to unfamiliar people being around ‘Most of our clients would otherwise receive social the home – something that many find uncomfortable. care from agency workers via the council list, but And being in control of their own situation is they don’t get a great choice. The carers are often critically important to disabled people. But what overworked and underpaid. Some are good, but they many aren’t aware of is that they can actually choose rarely have time to do what the client wants – they’re their own personal assistants or/carers – and often rushing from client to client. employ them directly – through the Government’s ‘With Direct Payments, you can choose someone Direct Payments scheme. local as your worker who may only have one client, ‘I care for my 13-year-old autistic son, Donald,’ for instance. Or you might choose a family member says Mercy Miller from Southwark, London. ‘He’s or someone you know that would be better situated been on Direct Payments for a year now. The carer’s to provide the support you need.’ agency weren’t listening to my needs at all – carers Another reason for enabling people to choose just wouldn’t turn up, and the agency couldn’t their own carer is so that they can find someone replace them. I was always getting left in the lurch who has knowledge of their language or culture, and having to rush home from work. for example. For people who don’t speak English ‘Our social worker told me about Direct Payments, as their first language, it is very important that they and it’s really changed my life. I decide how much I receive support from a worker with whom they can pay the carer, and I set the hours so that she’s there, speak in their own tongue. This is crucial when you waiting for me, when I get home from work. Life is are communicating about very intimate support so much better managed now.’ tasks such as personal care for example. ‘The client might be from a particular African Better flexibility country, and they might like to advertise for someone through their faith group, for example, to Direct Payments gives users much more flexibility in increase the possibility of finding someone from the choosing the support that they need, and it works by 18 blueprint winter/spring 2009