We’re not being sent out for tartan ink or being asked to wait at the corner for the arrival of the long stand on 1 April. There will be no fool’s errands for Bridges Project staff, as they will all be too busy launching a new service – Way2Work#CashBack! An award of up to £409,000 over three years from the Scottish Government’s CashBack for Communities programme (Phase 4) will enable Bridges Project to provide a bespoke, quality service which opens doors of opportunity for young people who are aged 14 to 21 years in Midlothian and East Lothian.
Way2Work#CashBack will provide a mix of individual and group based interventions which address the needs of young people who are struggling to overcome the barriers to inclusion on their personal journeys to employment. Our experienced staff will build on the good will of local employers, communities and elected members and maximise the benefits of new and existing collaborations with third sector, local authority and educational partners to provide meaningful and sustainable opportunities for young people to make the most of what they can be.
We’re grateful; to be working alongside our longstanding partners from across the delivery spectrum in both local authority areas and look forward, very much, to new working relationships with Morrison Construction, Workingrite, the British Army’s 6 Scots, Bruce Robertson Training and Playback Ice. We’re delighted, too, to be able to plug in to the services provided by the Phase 4 ‘family’ of CashBack organisation http://www.cashbackforcommunities.org/ and to benefit from the support provided by Inspiring Scotland http://www.inspiringscotland.org.uk
Way2Work#CashBack will be challenging for young people who will be expected to take control of their own pathways to employment and create portfolios which address skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work. The mix of individual support, accredited learning and placement opportunities will be guided by staff. Ultimately, however, it will be up to each individual participant to make the choices they want to: improve personal capacity and confidence; positively change behaviours and grow aspirations; improve personal wellbeing; become more connected and improve attainment and engage with purpose in learning, employability and employment opportunities on their pathways to positive destinations. Our many years of experience has shown us that being involved, taking control and becoming empowered can be extremely challenging for young people who are more used to feeling disconnected, passive and supplicant. We’re not in the business of trying to squeeze square pegs in to round holes. We’re confident that this investment in a bespoke approach by the Scottish Government will make a genuine difference to the lives of local young people who strive to be successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors.