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Young jobseekers capture Christmas spirit

Young jobseekers capture Christmas spirit
 
Unemployed young people have captured the festive spirit of goodwill by braving the freezing weather to pack and deliver Christmas hampers to elderly Sandwell residents.
 
The Oldbury initiative was developed by the young jobseekers in partnership with West Bromwich-based employment experts Pertemps People Development Group (PPDG), West Midlands Police and Carewatch Sandwell an organisation which has recently recruited eight long-term unemployed people as care workers with support from PPDG.
 
The group of jobseekers have been getting support from PPDG employment coaches under the Government-funded Work Focused Training scheme. They were asked to draw up plans to help local elderly people benefit from a 400 donation from the West Midlands Police after PPDG applied to the Police Property Act Fund for support.
 
The Police Property Act Fund is made up from funds that have been raised through the sale of property that has been in police possession for over 12 months, where the owner cannot be found. Recipient organisations are usually local charities and community groups. PPDG was granted 2,000 from the fund to stage five community events across the region.
 
The learners brainstormed a list of ideas for hamper items based on what their own grandparents would like. The list was then approved by CareWatch Sandwell based on an intimate knowledge of their clients needs, likes and dislikes. Carewatch Sandwell, based in Oldbury, provides care for the elderly, those with mental health issues, physical disabilities and dementia. It covers areas including Smethwick, Oldbury, Rowley Regis and Cradley Heath.
 
The learners decided on the amounts of food and worked out costs based on 20 identical hampers. PPDG managers went shopping, needing several trips over two days to get the hundreds of items.
 
WFT jobseekers also sourced cardboard boxes from friendly local shops and decorated them with wrapping paper and tinsel before filling the boxes with food including tins of beans, spaghetti, vegetables, meat, along with Christmas goodies such as mini Christmas puddings and festive yule logs. Boiled sweets, chocolate biscuits, crackers, hot chocolate, tea, coffee and sugar and a Christmas card from PPDG were also added.
After three days of taping together, decorating and packing, the hampers were delivered to CareWatch and distributed to their grateful clients. WFT learner Amanda Tromans said: When we were asked to put the hampers together I didnt realise how much work was required, but it was a good way of using our budgeting and planning skills. Plus working as part of a team made it fun. Ive almost finished my City and Guilds course now so it was a good activity to end with.
 
Pat Jones, of Carewatch Sandwell, said: We at Carewatch Sandwell  have recently used Pertemps People Development Group to recruit eight care workers for the Sandwell area. We found the company to be very helpful and the care workers that we have recruited were up to a good standard. Carewatch take pride in our service users so we were very pleased that we could help.
 
The learners are getting PPDG support through the government-funded Work Focused Training which provides vocational training opportunities and employability skills to 18 to 24-year-olds.
 
The initiative is part of the Governments Backing Young Britain campaign, in partnership with the Future Jobs Fund and the Community Taskforce, which encourages organisations to provide young people with the opportunities they need to get into work. PPDG is providing vocational training linked to the needs of the local labour market that progresses young people towards the achievement of full Level 2 or 3 vocational qualifications that can be continued in work or around work if required.
 
PPDGs team of employment experts provide advice on benefits, confidence building, one-to-one support, CV and interview preparation as well as finding the right job or training course. In partnership with DWP, the Ministry of Justice and Jobcentre Plus, PPDG delivers a diverse range of employment and training initiatives including Flexible New Deal, Working Neighbourhoods Fund, Learndirect and many ESF funded programmes. More than 100,000 job seekers have been helped into sustained employment by the company since the projects began.  It has trained 130,000 people in vocational skills, and over 175,000 people have benefitted from professional information, advice and guidance services.

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