Celebrating Inspiration

On the 5th of March 2015 Talent Match Staffordshire celebrated their First Anniversary.

Over 100 people attended the conference, including local businesses, training providers, public and voluntary sector partners, Talent Match staff and volunteers and most importantly young people who have benefitted from the project.

“What a fabulous event – very inspiring!” Big Lottery Fund

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By young people, for young people!

Talent Match Staffordshire is a new and exciting project that supports young people into employment and helps young entrepreneurs to set up their own business. Funded by the Big Lottery, Talent Match Staffordshire is currently being delivered in the districts of Lichfield, Cannock and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Held at the Whitemoor Lakes Activity Centre, the conference included inspiring stories direct from young people. The conference provided the perfect platform to celebrate the successes of the young people who have been involved in the project.

The conference was opened by Support Staffordshire Chief Executive Garry Jones and Marilyn Castree from the Lichfield Chamber of Commerce. Marilyn talked about the work Talent Match and the Chamber of Commerce had done together and opportunities for more collaboration in the future.

The Talent Match team made an exciting entrance to the conference by showing a video of them zip wiring and then they came running onto the stage in helmets and harnesses, as if they had zip lined into the conference. This creative entrance set the tone for the rest of the day, where the atmosphere was one of genuine excitement and energy for the future of Talent Match Staffordshire and the young people who they are helping.

Amanda Newbold, Talent Match Project Manager, said that “everybody in this room has made Talent Match” she went on to say that the successes of the project; over exceeding on targets to get young people into employment, had been achieved through “the strong partnership work and hard work of staff and volunteers.”

Conference speakers included; Craig Titterton, Member & Community Relations Manager from the Central England Co-operative Ltd, Laura Dunn, Store Manager at Boots Cannock store and Patrick Kearney, who spoke on ‘Turning dirt into gold’ and opportunities for young people through social enterprise.

Throughout the day there were opportunities for networking and viewing exhibition stands provided by local organisations.

Prior to lunch a series of ‘lost lectures’ took place where Wayne Mortiboys from Staffordshire County Council spoke on his journey through local government and shared advice on opportunities for young people through the Council. Tracey Roberts from Roberts Slater Ltd spoke on the ‘miracles of peer mentoring’ and Christine Thomas from Christine Thomas Ltd spoke on ‘recognising potential – inspiring success’.

Delegates took part in a social enterprise activity, generating ideas for ways in which Talent Match could potentially generate sustainable income as well as involving young people in gaining business skills. Lots of creative ideas were generated.

Comments included; “a great idea sharing event which delivered and engaged – brilliant time”.

The conference closed with an Awards Ceremony recognising the contributions of a number of young people and partners. The awards were presented by Kent Parson and Amanda Milling who is the Conservative candidate for Cannock.

Other comments from delegates included; “it’s great to watch the young people flower as their confidence grows” and “an inspirational day which helped to us remember what is really important. Here’s to many more years of partnership working” 

Talent Match is targeting young people who are furthest from the jobs market, including those who are completely outside of the benefits, work and training system and facing severe barriers to gaining the skills they need to get into work.

Talent Match will boost opportunities for young people in these areas by bringing together partnerships of employers, education providers and others, led by local charities.

The investment was co-designed with young people, both centrally and in each of the 21 partnership areas, and will continue to have young people at the heart of decision making throughout the programme.

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