By Karen Driver, Risk Support Officer and Member Pioneer

We’ve just launched an innovative scheme with the Damilola Taylor trust (DTT), which will help young people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds with little or no work experience, to develop the skills and confidence to be able to enter the world of work.

I think this is amazing. As a Member Pioneer I’m lucky that I get to interact with my community regularly, and I think this scheme will make a really positive impact to so many young people’s lives.

The Career Search and Skills Development Programme (CSSD) is a three month course that uses a range of learning tools to support young people to improve their skills in job-searching, CV writing, presentation, communication, team working and self-management so they can stand a really good chance of securing jobs.

When I’ve applied for jobs in the past I’ve always felt a little nervous, and that’s when I’ve done it before, with job search and interview skills. Imagine being a young person who hasn’t had this support; for many getting a job must feel about as realistic as winning the lottery.

This is why it’s great that as part of our involvement, individuals interested in Retail or Logistics will also have the opportunity to apply for a permanent role in Co-op and, potentially, join our apprenticeship programme.

This is the second year the DTT has run the programme, working with their delivery partner Hudl Youth Development Agency, but the first time it has had our backing.

Making a difference in the community was the reason I became a Member Pioneer (you can read more about it here), and this scheme will have both a positive impact on individuals and the communities they live. Here’s what two young people who’ve already gone through the scheme had to say:

A 2018 participant said: “I will definitely recommend the CSSD programme to others, because I’ve learnt a lot while doing the programme. I’ve met great people, I’ve also learnt how to better myself as a person.”

Another previous course member said: “The thing I love most about the CSSD programme is the fact the staff are so involved in our futures, and they love trying to make us feel involved in all the activities.”

You may have seen the video of Jo Whitfield interviewing Damilola Taylor’s dad, Richard. Here’s what he has to say about our support of the scheme:

Richard Taylor, founder and trustee of The Damilola Taylor trust: “One of the factors that causes disadvantaged inner-city youths to be isolated from society is unequal access to opportunities. Access to opportunities for training and gainful employment is the strongest enabler of productive participation and integration into society for anyone. We are therefore delighted that our Career Search and Skills Development Programme will be delivered again this year to provide young people opportunity to acquire crucial skills for competing effectively in the jobs market. We are grateful to Co-op for supporting us to deliver this programme again in 2019”.

If you want to know more please click here.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Hi, I am currently a Co-op Member Pioneer (& from next week, a Member Pioneer Co-ordinator) and I feel this is a fantastic scheme. It was so interesting listening to Damilola’s Father at the Co-op AGM this year, very inspiring. I would like to see the programme extended out from London to areas like Stevenage, where there are pockets of deprivation and young people in need of direction like this.
    If you look to groups such as The Rotary, there are people in the community who already mentor young people and who would be happy to help with this (I am President of our local Rotary and Youth Services are top of our agenda).
    I would be interested in assisting to take this further. Good luck with it all and thank you.

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