Set up in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and based in the town centre on Cookson Street, the team of Employment Advisers help 16–24 year-olds in Blackpool find a job and access education or training.
An independent service review by consultancy firm Ekosgen reveals that the service has exceeded its first year targets set by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) as part of its Community Renewal Funding.
The overall targets for the service were to provide employment support for 300 young people between January and September 2022. The Platform exceeded this target, achieving 131%, supporting 393 young people.
Of those young people receiving support, 127 have gone into education or training, 69% above target.
Designed to target youth unemployment in the town, the free service helps young people to develop their skills in preparation for work.
The Platform, which launched in March last year, has helped 123 young people to find work with local employers – a significant achievement for the team.
Plans are in place to increase the range of services and employers including the recruitment of an Outreach Employment Advisor who will support young people in community settings if they feel unable to access the town centre hub.
The evaluation report highlights the excellent working relationships that the service has developed with delivery partners. These include training providers such as Groundwork and Blackpool FC Community Trust, Blackpool Sixth Form College, Blackpool and The Fylde College and local businesses to provide ongoing opportunities for young people to access courses and find work placements with a view to gaining sustainable employment in the long term.
The report highlights the positive impact of the dedicated Care Leavers Employment Adviser who works closely with Blackpool Young People’s Service to help those leaving care and in need of support.
Key to its success is the person-centred approach, which ensures that all young people have access to their own Employment Adviser who provides personalised support with young people’s needs and aspirations remaining at the heart of the support offer.
Feedback about this approach was very positive and young people feel listened to, more confident and resilient in finding work and that their individual needs have been considered.
The team of Employment Advisers provide support with CV writing, interview techniques, confidence building, arranging work experience placements, finding appropriate education and training, and linking in with local job opportunities.
Arming young people with these important life and social skills has been a key success of the service, assisting with the fundamental building blocks to move on to the next stage of their lives, especially in a post-Covid-19 world.
The report highlights the convenient location of the base, which is located on the ground floor of the council’s town centre building, Number One, Bickerstaffe Square. Support agencies are also able to operate from the purpose-built modern facility.
Cllr Gillian Campbell, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Inclusion, Youth, Schools and Transience, said:
Young people can call in to make an appointment to see an adviser at The Platform, which is located at Unit 3 Bickerstaffe House (next to the Post Office), Cookson Street and is open Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm. They can also WhatsApp/text on 07342 056448, call 01253 477775 or email email@example.com
The Platform has received £443,824 from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund. The service will also be funded from the Government’s Town Deal funding allocation.