Smarter Choices is part of Smarter Academy training group and has successfully delivered over 800 qualifications in the previous year from its Training Academy in Manchester. Smarter Choices’ traditional strengths have been delivery of Employability and Functional skills CPD and CV Up-skill. Since 2016, the charity has been developing other commercial opportunities and has aspirations to work with local partners in developing opportunities for local people who might be at the margins of education, training and employment.
These groups are supported locally by organisations that are mindful of the individuals and their personal barriers to education, training and employment. With this in mind Smarter Choices has developed a bespoke training programme that not only removes some of these barriers, but adds value and capacity to the organisations and individuals .we do this by adding and embedding additional training, mentoring and coaching to the programme.
This programme has a working title of – “Smarter Choices – Smarter Academy”
The beneficiaries for this programme are based within local Communities that, through a variety of reasons, personal issues, and circumstances have become disengaged from or are at the margins of education and employment. This Programme is designed to support these beneficiary groups and has been developed to meet the objectives identified below:
- Promoting Employment and Supporting Labour Mobility
- Promoting Social Inclusion and Combating Poverty
- Investing in Education, Skills & Lifelong Learning
The beneficiaries may come from the following groups:
NEET Young People, Pre (Identified) NEET Young People, Ex-Offenders, Prolific Offenders, Youth Offenders, Ex Service (with mental health issues), Disabled, Returners to Work, Migrant Workers, Special Education Needs, Long Term Unemployed
Each of the individuals within the groups may have had a variety of, and or multiple barriers to engagement with education, training or employment;
- Low personal self-esteem
- History of offending behaviour
- Unsatisfactory educational experience
- History of low achievement and underachievement
- Health, social, family and accommodation issues
These barriers to education, training and employment will be addressed and supported by the following programs.
Initially the beneficiaries will be enrolled on the Smarter Choices – Smarter Academy programme the first stage of the programme is designed to provide the basic Careers advice and Employability Skills:
- Careers Planning
- CV writing
- Communication skills
- Interview Skills
- Team Working
During research carried out by Smarter Choices it was identified that Employability Enrichment in the form of additional skills, qualifications and training will give beneficiaries a competitive advantage in securing employment, given the limited sector opportunities available . All learners will receive enrichment training and be qualified and certificated in:
- First Aid
- Health & Safety
- Customer Services
- Fire Safety
- Manual Handling
- Food Hygiene/Safety
Given the beneficiaries may come from a variety of social and economic backgrounds and may have experienced a variety of domestic, social and health issues, that has placed barriers to employment and training ,we feel it prudent to enhance the work that the prime support agencies will undoubtedly have undertaken as part of their routine support by offering, bite sized, workshops that cover some of the common barriers to education, training and employment within some of the beneficiary groups. All Learners will be given and awareness and overview on the following topics:
- Personal Finance
- Understanding Crime
- Equality & Diversity
- Anger Management
- Nutrition and Health Diet
- Drug and Alcohol
These will be delivered by a variety of specialist agencies to ensure that the awareness and overview is of the highest standard and most appropriate to the beneficiaries.
Throughout the Programme, learners will have access to IAG, Mentoring and support through professional mentors and trainers who are from a variety of backgrounds with a variety of life experiences who can at as a catalyst for change and personal improvement.
Subject to satisfactory completion of the Programme, it is expected that a number of the learners will be sufficiently equipped, have the necessary skills, confidence and personal attributes to move into employment or undertake further vocational training (traineeship, apprenticeship etc). This will be afforded to the learner through the Smarter Choices progression routes.
Attached is a sample Programme timetable, outlining the Smarter Choices programme over 8 week at 3 days per week. Naturally this is flexible to meet the needs of beneficiaries and funders. The overall Programme is designed to be delivered as a blended learning solution that meets the learning styles of most learners using Tutor Led, E-Learning, and Self/Home Study. The Programme is also interspersed with periodic reviews, tutorials and mentoring opportunities.
Given one of the target groups are migrant and resident and the non-English speaking community, the Programme will be supplemented by ESOL (to ensure greater integration).