Work and training charity heads to Rotherham’s libraries to support young people

Sophie Short, The Source’s Community and Engagement Officer, is pictured at Mowbray Gardens library with young attendees Paige Jordan, Lex Keehner and Choe Granger and Gillian Moss, RMBC Operational Manager and Val Pitcher, Rotherham’s Central Libraries Team Leader

A charity is leaving no page unturned in its bid to help young Rotherham people whose job prospects have been hit by the pandemic.

The Source Skills Academy is heading to three of the town’s libraries to set up drop-in sessions aimed at boosting young people’s confidence and skills and encouraging them into work or training.

The Source, which is based on Meadowhall Way, has helped thousands of people into work via training and apprenticeships, and improved the careers of countless employees since launching in 2003.

It has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and now, in partnership with Rotherham Council, its Community Outreach Programme is taking experienced tutors and engagement officers to libraries in the town which are kitted out with the latest IT equipment for the public to use.

Sessions start on September 6 and will run indefinitely at the central Riverside Library and branches in Dinnington and Maltby.

This is the first time teams from The Source have gone out to work from libraries.

Said Danny Slinn, head of the academy’s Adult Learning and Community Team: “We want to engage with young people  16-25-year-olds feeling lost and isolated, who we haven’t been able to reach during the pandemic.

“Their school and college life got disrupted and many may not have found their way into further education, work or training.

“Instead of waiting for them to find us, we are taking The Source to their local libraries, which are great community spaces and easy to get to.

“We are asking young people to come and discover what great facilities their libraries have and how we can change their lives.”

Source staff will work one-to-one with attendees to find out about their skills and what could be holding them back.

They can be guided onto courses including money management, English and maths boosters, organisational skills, self-awareness and confidence-building. Presenting and speaking skills, creative writing and digital skills courses are also available.

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Coun Sheppard said: “We are currently rolling out an improvement package worth over £1.8m for libraries across the borough to improve library buildings and their IT provision.

“Libraries are an integral part of our neighbourhoods and it’s important that we create a library service that is responsive to community needs across the borough.”

“The pandemic has affected many of our residents and we greatly welcome this new partnership which will mean young people will be able to benefit from the improved facilities, whilst getting the help and support they need.”

Young people are being informed about the service via a leafleting and social media campaign and Jobcentre Plus work coaches.

There are plans to extend the service to other libraries in Rotherham and then develop a similar support scheme for young people in other South Yorkshire towns.

Sessions will be held at:

Dinnington Library and Resource Centre,Laughton Road, on Fridays 10am-3pm

Maltby Community Library, Braithwell Road on Wednesdays, 10am-3pm

Riverside Library, Main Street, Rotherham, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am-3pm

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