Young Bristol celebrates 10 years of supporting young people into employment!

This week Young Bristol celebrated our Outdoor Employment Programme reaching it’s tenth year of helping young people to build a positive future into employment.

The Outdoor Employment Programme (formerly known as the Instructor Training Scheme), was first piloted in 2013 and since its launch has helped over 280 young people aged 16 – 25 into employment within the outdoor industry and further education. The entirely free scheme aims to remove the barriers that young people are facing today when accessing employment and training opportunities.

The need for employability focused youth work has only increased over the years. A recent cost of living crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine war has had an increased impact on families and young people across the UK. This pressure has been most damaging to young people in already disadvantaged situations, and we are seeing this through the number of young people aged 16 – 17 in Bristol who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET).

Dan, a former trainee on the Outdoor Employment Programe in 2019 said:

The programme definitely came at the right time as it helped me to experience what it was like to hold down a job. It raised my self confidence!”

The scheme has seen outstanding successes throughout its delivery, with at least 80% of the trainees starting further education, training or employment within a year of their first session. The programme has provided 230 hours of training each year and awarded 750 Instructor and NGB Qualifications to trainees in 10 years, in areas including High Ropes, Archery, Canoeing and as Outdoor First Aiders.

Not only have trainees gained skills and qualifications, but they have also been provided with volunteering opportunities on Young Bristol’s programmes, allowing them to give back and support other young people on their journey, in-turn breaking down social barriers.

Joshua, a former trainee on the programme in 2013 said:

It’s no exaggeration that the good I’ve done in this world has stemmed from the opportunity Young Bristol and the programme gave me. At a time when I felt I deserved nothing, they gave me everything!”

To celebrate the programme’s 10-years of success, on Wednesday 15th November Young Bristol invited past and present trainees, funders, partners and supporters along to an evening of celebrations to highlight the stories of those impacted and the work that the initiative continues to do throughout the city.

The event was kindly hosted by the SS Great Britain Trust who have directly supported over 70 trainees through the Go Aloft! Programme, which has supported around 15,000 people to climb the rigging of the SS Great Britain. Following 9 years of collaboration on the Go Aloft! programme over 98% of those employed through the partnership remain in employment or have moved into full time education – an incredible testament to the programme’s continual success.

Liam Tolhurst, Deputy Director – Commercial & Operations at the SS Great Britain Trust said:

The collaboration with Young Bristol has provided incredible employment opportunities for young people who we’re delighted to have helped launch careers in the tourism and outdoor sectors. We know that former instructors have gone on to careers as senior instructors at high rope experiences in Wales, the Lake District and New Zealand.”

Young Bristol’s Chief Executive Lee Williams DL added:

The Outdoor Employment Programme has become a huge asset to young people in Bristol, and we are proud to be celebrating 10 years of success with the programme!

We know that through real collaborations and partnerships, initiatives such as our Outdoor Employment Programme will continue to change lives, and it is this that inspires us all to want to do more for young people.”

The Outdoor Employment Programme continues to provide opportunities for young people aged 16 – 25 across Bristol to become Outdoor Instructors. To find out more about the Outdoor Employment Programme click here.

Photo credit: SS Great Britain Trust

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