Despite being recognised as one of the top five projects of its kind across the UK, Talent Match SCR will come to an end in December 2018 unless new funding can be found.
Leaders of the local project, run by youth charity Sheffield Futures, have to act now to find the money to continue supporting young people who may otherwise be left behind.
Talent Match is a Big Lottery-funded nationwide programme supporting NEETs aged 18-25 to find secure futures via employment and enterprise.
Talent Match SCR has placed 622 young adults into employment across South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, and a further 1,300 are currently being helped by moving into education, training and voluntary work.
“The future of Talent Match is touch and go,” said Gail Gibbons, Chief Executive Officer at Sheffield Futures, the young people’s charity which runs the project.
“Talent Match has changed lives in this region. Young people who believed they could never have a secure and happy future - because they thought they were unemployable - now have steady jobs and dreams they can reach for. We have to find a way to continue so we can help thousands more.”
The 21 Talent Match projects around the country have a strong social impact, with evidence showing each that successful placement saves society thousands each year. Their 18-25-year-old clients have all been jobless for more than 12 months, and many experience learning disabilities, mental health problems, homelessness and single parenthood. Others have spent years in care.
The programme supports them to develop skills and confidence through individually tailored solutions including placing young clients with caring local employers offering jobs that suit their needs. A team of 23 coaches continue to support them in the workplace for 6 months and beyond.
Local Talent Match employers come from the voluntary and private sector. Zenza Limited, a bookkeeping payroll and credit control provider in South Yorkshire has been working with Talent Match since the beginning of the year. Leeann Shentall, Credit Control Manager said: “We believe in giving chances to those that want chances. We like to see people develop in themselves and are happy we are in a position to make that happen. We know that there are young people that have a true desire to work, but need an opportunity, which we are happy to provide.”
Said Jo Booth, Talent Match SCR programme manager: “Many come to us with their confidence at rock-bottom and problems they believe are insurmountable. Some are trying to find a place to sleep that night or the money to eat.
“Our motto is No One Is Left Behind. We help young people to rebuild their lives by going back to the foundations to find out how to make their lives easier, then gently get them ready for the workplace. But our work doesn’t stop when we have found someone a job. We stay with them, giving them the support they need to flourish in their new role. We are not about short-term solutions.”
Sheffield Futures is appealing to local authorities, employers, funders, stakeholders and social investors to back their fight for survival by offering funding and support.
A host of organisations will be urged to attend the No One Left Behind conference at the New York Stadium in November.
Talent Match’s young success stories will take to the stage to tell their stories and regional employers will also speak about the positive impact on their workforces.
For information on how to support local young people and Talent Match, contact firstname.lastname@example.org