Toyota Road to Success is Sporting Futures’ flagship employability programme. After working with a number of partners over several years, delivering similar opportunities to local young people not in education, employment or training, the chance to apply for our own funding, and hence create our own project, arose last summer from TMUK Charitable Trust. Ideas were formed from a wealth of previous experience and the desire to further extend our offer, and the Toyota Road to Success was created.
Youth unemployment is a social problem that evades everyday society. It affects individuals, families and communities, and is often the fault of a vicious cycle where jobs require experience yet experience must be gained from a job. Getting on the ladder is the most difficult step, especially in the competitive climate the recession and other financial burdens have brought. Jobs may go to someone overqualified, leaving those less advantaged young people in an even more difficult position than ever before, sometimes with overbearing feelings of self-doubt and lack of self-esteem. Youth unemployment rates are apparently falling, but government figures account for all those in full-time education among their calculations. Toyota Road to Success wants to cater for those who fall by the wayside of government numbers, and help alleviate that weight on young people’s shoulders.
The first pilot project ran in Derby City last autumn. In the city, a massive 43.7% of statistically defined areas, known as LSOAs, fall within the national 30% of highest unemployment rates. Although this considers unemployment across the entire working age range, the need for employability development is obvious. We recruited 10 individuals to join through partnership work with the local job centre, in addition to recruiting from our weekly sports sessions. It was an overall success, with high rates of retention, completion and progression.
Now as project 2 gets underway in South Derbyshire, starting last week with icebreaker activities, an introduction to staff at Sporting Futures and Toyota, a tour of their factory, Emergency First Aid qualification and CV and interview skills already covered (we didn’t know how much we could fit in 2 days!), we want to keep you more up-to-date than ever through this blog. The young people we work with don’t come from the easiest backgrounds, and what they manage to achieve with us is sometimes truly incredible, so we thought we’d better start shouting about it!
Facts and figures can tell half a story, and though news that youth unemployment is falling is great for both individuals and the country as a whole, we cannot ignore the young people who don’t make up these statistics. Those who are often given little help to get out of the cycle they find themselves in.
The need for experience and skill controls a job market saturated with applicants, and by helping our young people, group-by-group, we will put them back in the picture, equipped with tangible qualifications and immeasurable increases in confidence, esteem and determination. The Road to Success’ destination is clear, and we can’t wait to help more young people on its journey.