Greater Manchester’s Hidden Talent is run by GMCVO, but it is our Delivery Partners – organisations working across the ten authorities of Greater Manchester – that work directly with young people, by employing Talent Coaches. To highlight the diversity in operation and approach of our Delivery Partners, we have asked them a series of questions to put the spotlight on the excellent work they do on a local level.
In this interview, we talk to Janet Whitehead, Head of Employability and Training at Upturn Enterprise.
Talent Coaches: Chelsea Cook and Janet Whitehead
Date Founded: 2001
Number of staff: 16
Organisation Ethos: We seek innovative ways to unlock the potential of people, businesses, and the communities that we serve by adding value and improving economic performance and social well-being
Describe the young people on GM’s Hidden Talent in three words: Individuals with potential
Try and describe your Talent Coaches in three words: Inspiring, unique, and a little crazy!
Why we should visit your offices: To get a good brew and a biscuit
Local delicacy we should try when we’re in Rochdale or Oldham: Fish and Chips from Mr. Thomas' at Hollingworth Lake
"Some of our young people have not been diagnosed with learning needs, or mental health needs, whilst going through the schooling system - so they have not been receiving the right support to be able to gain qualifications and skills"
Who are you as an organisation and what is it you do?
Upturn is a recognised non-profit social enterprise that is committed to assist individuals, public, private, and third sector organisations and businesses unlock and fulfil their potential. We do this by delivering sustainable solutions that have a positive and long lasting impact upon the wider community.
Upturn has considerable experience in identifying, recruiting, managing, and supporting apprentices. Working to a client's brief we can help them find the right person that has the talent and the ‘fit’ that they require to make things work. We can also help with training and provide support throughout the apprenticeship.
Our vibrant community ethic has been generated, and is sustained by, our multi-disciplinary team that has extensive hands-on knowledge and experience of people, enterprise, training, community and business. Each of our service areas is directed by qualified staff which means we can rapidly pinpoint the issues to be addressed, devise appropriate solutions, and bring to bear our strengths and connections as a social enterprise – partnerships and collaborative working are second nature to us.
Why did you want to be part of the GM’s Hidden Talent Programme, and/or how does it align with your organisation’s objectives and purpose?
The GM's Hidden Talent progamme fits with our commitment - 'to assist individuals to fulfill their potential'
We worked on the Greater Manchester Talent Match programme with GMCVO for five years in the Rochdale and Oldham areas and knew there was still a gap in services and a need to support these young people.
How do you recruit hidden young people?
Positive Steps refer quite a lot of our young people, especially from Middleton. We have used our local contacts from previous projects and working partnerships, including social services and Rochdale Council.
Is there a typical life situation your hidden young people find themselves in – or, if there is not one typical situation, what variety of circumstances are your young people in?
A lot of the young people we work with are care leavers at 18, finding themselves out on their own - quite often with no support network, family, or friends around to help. Sometimes they have nowhere to live. We also work with one young lady who has moved from Wales to Rochdale with no connections here in Greater Manchester!
Some of our young people have not been diagnosed with learning needs, or mental health needs, whilst going through the schooling system - so they have not been receiving the right support to be able to gain qualifications and skills, leaving them lost and unable to gain employment, with low self esteem and confidence. Often their percieved 'failings' are a statutory organisation or system failing them.
In the past another one of my young people was giving their Personal Independence Payment (a benefit to help with extra costs if you have a long term ill-health or disability) to their family to support them. This meant that they felt it difficult to leave home.
Why, in your experience, do hidden young people not claim benefits?
I personally feel that the Job Centres are not providing the environment or support that young people feel comfortable accessing. Some young people are not encouraged by the family or do not recieve the right education to take on responsibility for their lives - this leads to the young person becoming comfortable in taking 'hand outs' from the family. Some of the young people have mental health issues - leading to anxiety and panic attacks and do not feel able to deal with the process or the pressure. I also feel there may be a stigma attached to claiming benefits and they feel they will be pushed into jobs they don't want.
Why do you think the Talent Coach model is the best model of support for the programme?
Talent Coaches provide one-to-one intensive, flexible support to suit the individual. Quite often these young people have not had a good time at school and other classroom environments, so respond better to the one-to-one relationship, building up trust and gaining self confidence. We are flexible and able to support them with any number of different challenges faced. In a way we are a 'one stop shop for young people'.