Testing a different approach to supporting adults to change career in Tees Valley

Tees Valley Combined Authority


19 05 2023


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Tees Valley New Futures was launched in October 2022 and is supporting people whose jobs were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic to retrain and reskill, by providing tailored, 1-1 careers advice and guidance. The pilot is delivered by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council on behalf of the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and is available to residents across Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar & Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees).

To identify the target cohort for Tees Valley New Futures, a mapping exercise was undertaken to understand what gaps, if any, there were in local provision in terms of careers and employment support. This was supplemented by analysis to identify the characteristics of those within the Tees Valley area who were acutely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The results of the mapping exercise indicated that the target cohort for Tees Valley New Futures should be:

  • Over the age of 30
  • Unemployed for 0-36 months, as a result of Covid-19
  • In employment and looking to change career due to employment being affected by Covid-19.

Tees Valley New Futures has so far engaged with more than 230 individuals, supported more than 80 into training and more than 40 into a new career. Support includes working with a dedicated careers coach to undertake a skills audit, identify future aspirations and develop a skills and career plan with the overall aim of moving into new employment.

To date training has included:

  • Telehandler
  • Fork lift truck driver
  • Offshore meteorological observer
  • Global Wind Organisation training
  • Slinger/signaller
  • Health and safety
  • First aid at work

The New Futures team work with local employers to match career plans with local need. In addition, participants receive up to 6 months in-work support from their careers coach.

Mark is just one of the 230 people who have been supported through the pilot. Mark contacted the New Futures team after seeing a New Futures advert in the local council newsletter and he was interested to find out how he could be supported to change career. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic Mark was working in a warehouse, but he was furloughed during the pandemic and subsequently made redundant. During careers coaching sessions it was identified that Mark enjoyed driving and was interested in working for himself, so his careers coach supported him to meet a local taxi company recruitment manager. Mark was supported to undertake his taxi driver knowledge training in addition to training for the practical element of the test, this included sessions on what to expect and information on the latest laws, road legalities and theory training. Upon successfully passing the tests Mark completed a medical and enhanced DBS. Throughout this process, Mark was supported by his career coach with confidence building and given advice and guidance around the legalities of being self-employed. Mark passed the taxi driver knowledge and practical tests and started his first shift with Red-Car Taxis in March. He has continued to receive in work support from his career coach.

Mark said:
I couldn’t see myself getting out the situation I was in. I didn’t want to go back into a warehouse environment and I felt that I could do more with my life. New Futures supported me every step of the way, letting me know what was going to happen during each part of the job application process. I would never have been able to complete this without the support and funding Tees Valley New Futures was able to give.

Initial learnings from the pilot show that the target cohort are motivated, want to work, change careers and progress. Anecdotal findings to date show that the 1-1 tailored support approach works for the target cohort in addition to the flexible and responsive approach of the pilot.

Tees Valley New Futures will continue to work with people locally to support them to retrain and progress into exciting new career opportunities. Our aim is to engage with at least 225 individuals, support 100 to retrain and help 70 into new employment by the end of September 2023. The learnings from New Futures will inform the development of future funding opportunities in Tees Valley, including the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, and provide a valuable insight into what works in supporting adults to change career.

Learning and Work Institute’s flagship programme, New Futures, is supporting workers who are looking to change career and reskill as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This work is funded by the Covid-19 Support Fund. We are working with partners across the UK to deliver place-based pilots in Edinburgh, Belfast, Wales and Tees Valley.