As part of the Skills West pre-recruit and training programme, delivered by Business West, we've been catching up with the fantastic local businesses we've worked with across the course of the project.
Meet Poku Osei, CEO at Babbasa, to hear how they became involved with Business West and their experience of the programme so far.
Why did you want to get involved in Business West’s Pre Recruit and Train Programme?
It was a unique opportunity to engage young people in a way that most employability programmes don't. It offered a different way of addressing the needed soft skills of young people, prior to progressing into work.
Have you taken part in anything like this programme before?
The programme had relatively less participation criteria restrictions, unlike most employability programmes - which in turn helped to widen the pool of applicants.
What are you offering to students?
A mix of problem solving skills, career guidance from industry professionals, direct 1:1 support in an open-access session format and understanding of skills and capabilities.
Why do you think workshops like yours are important?
People living in areas of deprivation or come from low income families are not mostly not predisposed to such information, skills and guidance due to the lack of role models and mentors from industries. They are therefore disadvantaged in the job market and from recruiters who view such attributes as core to the success of employees at the workplace.
How have the first few workshops gone?
It took a while to gain momentum, particularly in relation to the evidence that the participants were required to produce - which qualified them for attendance.
What are some of the benefits for learners of attending your workshops?
Increased confidence; gained knowledge in terms of career options and pathways; and improved workplace skillset.
Did you come up against any hurdles / challenges with delivering your programme?
How did you overcome these hurdles / challenges?
My advice would be to allocate time to the planning process. Ensure the attendees understand the reasons/importance for collecting the data and how it would be used. Create a safe and fun environment for group rapport and discussions. Focus on the intended outcomes of the course. Don't lose sight on evaluating the skills/knowledge being gained. Allow the participant to define the rules within parameters.
What has been your highlight of running your workshops?
Seeing the majority of participants progress to take on work experience opportunities on a social action project. And also seeing one progress to take on their first paid employment.
How can people find out more information about attending your workshops?
They should log on to the Babbasa website, specifically Whats On page, for further information.
Babbasa is a Bristol-based social enterprise that empowers young people (Up to 25) from ethnically diverse and less advantaged communities to move into work, education, or business – so they feel inspired, supported and ready to fulfill their ambitions.