We are one of five organisations in the country running the Work Pairings programme.
Work Pairings builds on our existing model of provision that we have developed and refined over many years. More recently we have built up resources and expertise in accessing the supply chains of public and private sector partners and we are now linked to over 850 companies across Staffordshire.
Young people (aged up to 18) are recruited onto our Foundation Learning Programmes. There are 3 main stages:
- Induction/Preparatory Period
- Work Pairings
All learners take part in a 4 week induction which includes workshop tasters, health and safety, citizenship and team building. During this time they complete a work book tracking their progress and at the end of the 4 weeks they take part in an assessment bringing together views of workshop supervisors and their own self-assessment.
Discussions are held with the learners about employment and learning preferences and which work skills they need to improve in. They will also receive a training allowance (based on attendance and workbook completion). Along with other benefits such as free healthy breakfasts, free fruit, a travel pass and suitable clothing and personal protective equipment.
Following their induction learners will spend a few weeks working on the PM Training Homeworks or Officeworks programmes developing work-ready skills. On the Homeworks programme learners work in small service delivery teams of 3-4 led by a supervisor/mentor in an area they have shown an interest and aptitude in (e.g. painting and decorating). As well as continuing to gain Foundation Learning qualifications they will work on the work skills identified through their individual assessment.
Officeworks learners will similarly gain experience by carrying out real business administration tasks for the wider Aspire Group. Individual progress is reviewed monthly and during this time they will receive a weekly training allowance of £30 per week for 30 hours (subject to achievement and attendance).
PM Training is paid for the contracted work that the Homeworks teams undertake and this supports the £30 a week payment. When the learner is ready for a placement they will be ‘matched’ with an employer. The matching is related to skills and aptitudes, employment preferences and location/public transport.
The employer signs a (non legal) training agreement with a view to taking the young person on as an employed apprentice at the end of the placement. Work Pairings is open to Foundation Learners at all of our four sites in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Stafford and Leek.
Apprenticeships.After 4-6 weeks we expect the employer to take on the young person as an apprentice. During the last year 45 young people gained an apprenticeship through this route and we expect this number to rise over the coming year.