CSW group staff have been researching and working with partner agencies to ensure young people can still gain employability skills while keeping safe during social distancing. Supporting young people during this difficult time is important for their journey into employability, education and training and for their mental health and wellbeing. We are encouraging all young people to be proactive and productive during this time, as well as supporting vulnerable groups by providing an enhanced offer. Like the rest of the world, we have utilised online working and resources to ensure no one is left behind and young people are still able to gain skills, ensuring they are well equipped to apply for education, employment and training post Covid-19.

There are a wide range of free online provisions which can allow a young person to gain qualifications. For example, providers who are running the Heart of the South West programme are continuing it as an online provision for 15-24 who are NEET or risk of NEET. This programme allows young people to gain functional skills in maths and English. CSW Group staff can refer a young person for this provision and can support with information advice and guidance.

Another great online resource offering free courses is the Open University. Beginner courses in maths, English and ICT are being offered, they can be accessed on their website here. More free online courses and websites are available. BBC Bitesize website has a dedicated portal for post16 learning giving learners’ access to maths and English functional skills learning, as well as revision for ages 11-16. More information can be found here.

Online courses will provide a young person with a certificate and basic skills to add to their CV. Having an up-to-date and varied CV will ensure the young person is well equipped for the competitive job market which will exist after Covid-19.

The CSW team have been promoting volunteering during this time. Being able to volunteer can increase self-confidence and provide a sense of purpose. This is important for young people at this time as it will bring the feeling of value and a structure for the day as well as improving mental health. Volunteering will also allow the young person to explore new opportunities which can help with the decision process around education, employment and training. Young people can search for volunteering opportunities by using the do-it website. This organisation has a wide range of volunteering opportunities which can be carried out from home. Plenty of home volunteering opportunities have been made available as an outcome of Covid-19. This resource is great for any young person who will miss out on ‘work experience’ week that they would normally participate in at school. Volunteering from home can add transferable skills to a CV, for example communication, time keeping, and some opportunities will involve team work.

Staying at home is great time to start learning new skills and explore new interests which again can contribute to the decision-making process. For example, if you have an interest in food and hospitality, have a go at cooking some new dishes with online resources which can teach you basic cooking skills. Online resources can be in the form of You Tube Videos and other video platforms. You can also work with the people in your household to explore other interests such as gardening or painting and decorating. Being able to explore interests and talents will allow you to start thinking about a career in that industry. If you would like to know more about a certain career have a browse at the National Careers Service job profiles.

If you have a range of interests and unsure where to start, have a look at the career pilot website.  You can have a go at some fun quizzes and take a deeper look into your interested areas. From there you can decided which pathways you would like to follow, either by trying skills out at home, volunteering or finding college courses, traineeships or apprenticeships which are ready to start again once social distancing has been lifted.

As always CSW group staff members are on hand to offer support and provide information advice and guidance for young people. More information and to contact please visit our website https://cswgroup.co.uk/.

Written by; Stephanie Morgan, CSW Group Trainee CDC Torbay