The Big Lottery has invested £7.6m in Birmingham & Solihull for an employability programme called Talent Match that will support long-term unemployed young people into employment.

Over the five year term of the programme, commissioned partners will support 1,000 young people, aged 18-24 years to find meaningful work, to move into further education, or to set up their own enterprises.

Talent Match Birmingham and Solihull will be led by BVSC in partnership with Solihull SUSTAiN and guided by a strategic partnership of around 20 organisations from the voluntary, statutory and business sectors.

The programme aims to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Improved confidence, optimism and support for young people who have been unemployed for over 12 months;
  • Improved and co-ordinated local pathways to get young people into positive economic activity;
  • More meaningful connections and partnerships between employers, agencies and voluntary and community sector organisations;
  • More young people securing employment, taking up training or further education or creating their own employment and enterprise.

Youth Involvement

Young people have been key to shaping the Birmingham and Solihull Programme. When Talent Match was launched in June 2012, young people were invited to a series of nine consultation events held at various locations in order to capture young people’s vision for the programme.

Attended by approximately 100 young people, these events included a range of activities such as music workshops, discussion forums and a Big Brother Diary Room, all designed to stimulate discussion around the issues impacting youth unemployment.

Issues highlighted by young people included the need for flexibility in order to respond to the multiple and complex needs of some young people, greater co-ordination and joining up of services and support. In particular young people wanted to see increased professional integrity, honesty about the support organisations could or couldn’t offer, “Professional agencies need to stop seeing pound signs on young people’s heads.”

Between August and October 2012 at the nine consultation events, a team of young people interviewed some of those attending and created a film. This film formed part of BVSC’s bid to the Big Lottery and was viewed by Big Lottery’s Youth Advisory Board.

Their key desire was for access to an employment support scheme which provided “a real job” and/or “real work experience with real employers” and “support through the journey”.
The young people felt that fundamental to the developing vision was their continued involvement beyond the initial consultation events. The Talent Match Young Ambassador role was developed as a result of their passion to remain involved.

Young Ambassadors

Young Ambassadors champion the issues of youth unemployment, represent young people’s views and opinions in decisions about Talent Match, promote the Talent Match programme, develop and maintain social media to enable young people to communicate and share their views about unemployment. They also organise and attend local events to raise the profile of the programme and will be expected to help recruit their peers onto the programme.

The Talent Match Ambassadors group has been meeting since December 2012 and has contributed to wide-ranging discussions about the Talent Match Programme including recommendations about the format for “Initial Assessments“, and discussions about a strapline for the programme. Talent Match Ambassadors and young people that have been consulted have said they would like one person to be a main contact point during their whole time on the programme. Therefore “initial assessment” and on-going support have been merged in the proposed delivery model to reflect this support requirement.

It is also anticipated that Ambassadors will be actively involved in short listing and interview processes for Expressions of Interest for the delivery of “wrap around support”.

The Ambassadors have been involved in a wide range of training and activity which has and will continue to shape the Birmingham and Solihull Programme Talent Match programme. Here’s a few examples:

Social Media Training: Young people attended training in order to develop a mechanism for engaging young people in discussions about the Talent Match Programme.

Initial Assessment Testing:  During November 2013 a group of Ambassadors took part in an exercise to test the Initial Assessment process, the form that all young people referred to the programme will have to complete. Young People made a series of recommendations about the types of questions included and the wording used and these have been sent to the Big Lottery.

Recruitment and Selection Training: In early January 2014 seven Ambassadors attended an all day training session designed to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to play an active role in the Recruitment and Selection of paid staff on the Talent Match Programme.

Media Training: In January 2014 Ambassadors attended media training to equip them with the skills and confidence needed to take part in media activity as part of the Talent Match launch.

Become a Young Ambassador

How would you tackle youth unemployment?

Talent Match Ambassadors will have an exciting opportunity to make a difference to the lives of young unemployed people in Birmingham and Solihull.

Talent Match Ambassadors will;

  • Represent young people’s issues, views and opinions on decisions about Talent Match.
  • Promote the programme.
  • Help shape and champion the Talent Match programme across Birmingham and Solihull.

The role is likely to include:

  • Development of Social Media including social networking.
  • Development of TM Apps enabling participants to rate services received and access details of TM through smart phones.
  • Promoting and recruiting potential TM participants in targeted areas.

How you will benefit?

  • Meet other inspiring young people.
  • Tailor made training and support.
  • Improve your skills and experience in decision making, communication and project management.
  • Gain a reference and develop a portfolio of achievement.
  • Opportunity to have a positive impact on your local community.
  • Paid travel expenses.

What next?

Talent Match services will commence delivery in April. We will provide further updates about how you can get involved over the coming weeks.

We will publish updates on Talent Match on this website and in our SUSTAiN Alert mailings – you can sign up to receive the Alerts below.