Leeds awarded £330k to help unemployed young people into health & care careers


Leeds has been awarded over £330,000 by the UK Community Renewal Fund, a government initiative that aims to support the people and communities most in need across the UK.

The funding will allow Leeds to engage with over 600 unemployed / economically inactive young people in the city, supporting them onto a health and care career path via innovative engagement programmes delivered by a team of third sector organisations.

Healthier Working Futures Leeds is an exciting new partnership of health, care and third sector organisations, which has received over £330,000 from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. Following West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s competitive application process, Healthier Working Futures was the only project to be selected from Leeds, and is just one of seven projects across West Yorkshire to have been awarded the funding.

Healthier Working Futures plans to engage over 600 young adults aged 16-25 who are currently unemployed or economically inactive, particularly those who face multiple and diverse barriers to employment.

The aim of the project is to help young people develop the confidence and insight to enable them to take advantage of the fulfilling education, training and employment opportunities available in health and care. It will increase awareness of the varied roles available in the sector, and provide personalised career routes for young people in Leeds.

Young people participating in the project may live in areas of the city that are categorised as the most economically deprived, or they may be part of a specific community of interest who experience some form of inequality such as: learning difficulties or disabilities, social, emotional and / or mental health issues, those who are dis-engaged from education, or people who are impacted by substance use or dislocation (homelessness, running away, family breakdown).

In order for Healthier Working Futures to actively reach young people who are facing employment barriers, the project is tendering for up to ten third sector partners, who work within the defined target communities, to run engagement programmes that will provide the opportunity to change perceptions, and raise awareness of, the wide variety of roles offered by the health and care sector.

This unique, collaborative team of third sector partners will aid the programme in reaching some of the city’s least engaged young people at a hyper-local level. The organisations that have been successful at tender stage will be announced week commencing 24th January, with applications closing on the 20th.

The project is hosted by the Leeds Health and Care Academy, an innovative collaboration of Leeds health, care and university partners who design and deliver transformative learning and development opportunities for all health and care staff across the city.

The Leeds Health and Care Academy will work alongside two Leeds-based delivery partners, Lighthouse Futures Trust which supports young adults with learning difficulties or autism through a series of employment-focused activities, and East Leeds Project, a practitioner-led visual art organisation based in Gipton.

As well as the engagement activities delivered by successful third sector organisations, programme delivery partners East Leeds Project will be using ‘KIOSK’, their mobile, modular unit, as a pop-up venue across the city.

It will provide a range of fun and hands-on creative sessions, led by professional Leeds-based artists, designed to engage young adults and help them find out more about the wider opportunities available in the health and care sector through creativity and art. This will enable and encourage a unique, conversational experience that breaks down barriers to engagement. KIOSK will move from location to location, including parks, outdoor venues and places already used by young adults such as sports venues and popular meeting points, as well as more traditional health and care settings.

Once the engagement programmes have ended, the Employment and Skills team at Leeds City Council will continue to work with all young people that have taken part in the Healthier Working Futures project. If a young person enters into employment as a result of the project, the employing organisation will offer on-going career and skills support.

Kate O’Connell, director of Leeds Health and Care Academy, said: “We are incredibly proud to have been successful in our UK Community Renewal Fund application. The funding will allow us to meet, engage and inspire young people in Leeds, demonstrating how rewarding a career in health and care can be, and explaining just how many different opportunities are available.

“We cannot wait to work with our team of third sector partners, speak with our future workforce, and provide opportunities and advice for those that may not have been able to access it otherwise. The Healthier Working Futures project is going to result in real, positive change for members of our community, and for health and care in our city.”

Healthier Working Futures will run until the end of June 2022, but support will continue to be provided after this date. The aim is to develop and test a brand-new partnership model that, once proven, can be embedded into the Leeds health and care system on an on-going basis.

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