Wheel Solutions to Employment is an innovative and holistic approach to learning hat has raised aspirations, developed skills and increased opportunities for long term unemployed and hard to reach young people to achieve sustainable employment. It is a flexible programme offering employment skills, entry back into learning as well as practical voluntary work/skills experience in exchange for thirty five subsidised driving lessons @ £5 lesson, free provisional license, free driving and theory test. The project now also offers unemployed residents the opportunity to gain their taxi badge licence. The aim of the project to: engage 160 young people and long term unemployed backing education, training and employment.
The project outcomes are monitored and evaluated through a number of qualitative
and quantitative methods:
- Individual referral forms completed
- Record of attendance at training courses
- Driving instructors record and update on learners progress
- Staff record progress of theory training
- Volunteer forms record hours and project activity.
- Records kept of outcomes achieved include: number of people gaining a qualification, going onto further education/training, employment, volunteering,number of people who pass theory test and number of people who pass
- Driving test.
- One to one and group feedback from learners.
- Feedback from wider community in completion of a community project and/or host placement organisation.
- Feedback from referral agencies
- Regular verbal and written reports on progress to Board of Directors and written/verbal reports to funders.
Future Developments alongside our core programme.
We want to continue to deliver our core successful project whilst, creating new meaningful needs led opportunities. The Governments austerity measures, and in, particular the Welfare Reform act 2012 are having a significant impact on quality of life for those living in our poorest areas. No one would disagree with the key message from Government that is, to make work pay. However, we know from informal consultation with local young people and long term unemployed that without practical work experience and qualifications finding employment is becoming increasingly difficult.
The problem hasarisen since the introduction of the under occupancy tax. New under occupancy legislation has reduced housing benefit by £11 – £20 week to social housing tenants who have an extra bedroom(s). FROG Wheels Solutions to Employment want to help address the needs of long term unemployment whist addressing wider social/economic issues within the community.To do this we want to provide six month work placements for long term unemployed and up to two year apprenticeships for young people. We will link training and qualifications with practical help such as – decorating homes and carrying out handyman repairs for those who have no family or limited finances but, have no choice to move into a smaller home. We believe this inspiring project is a WIN WIN for everyone. It will provide an opportunity to gain new skills and a recognised qualification outside of a college setting whilst, supporting those in need of a helping hand by decorating and improving their home.
The added social value when young people meet the families and individuals they have helped will create a sense of pride and community cohesion. We have carried out consultation with the Council’s Routes to Employment Team, Redcar and Cleveland College and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) skills. This has resulted in funding available for apprentices salaries and qualification. FROG have agreed funding in year one for a full time painter and decorator/handy man. We have also held discussions with Coast and Country and Redcar and Cleveland Council about their Empty Homes to Happy Homes programme. Opportunities to tender for contracts will come available once the trainees are more qualified. In addition to our new developments feedback from our some of our partner organisations (see above quotes) has shown we need to continue to provide our successful core programme of education, employability skills and voluntary work in exchange for a full driving license and or a taxi badge license.
In Conclusion, we hope we have shown in this report the positive outcomes the project has achieved. We believe funding from BIG Lottery to support Wheels Solutions to Employment Project has made a significant contribution not only to the lives of our learners. For many this has been the first formal qualification(s) they have been awarded and the opportunity to learn to drive has undoubtedly served to further enhance their aspirations, confidence and employability. Furthermore, volunteering and giving something back to the wider community in exchange for a free provisional license, free theory/driving test and thirty five lessons at £5hr cannot be underestimated in terms of the significant impact this project has made to the wider community.
- Lynn Pallister, Project Co ordinator.