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  • | News | Participant stories

    Battling the realities behind long term youth unemployment

    The article below first appeared in The Scotsman:

    Venture Trust, the charity that supports disadvantaged young people to make positive changes in their lives, is getting to the route of the issues behind the significant number of long term unemployed youth in Scotland. The charity has joined forces with Who Cares? Scotland, and Move On to develop the employability programme, Reaching Higher.

    Amelia Morgan, Chief Executive of Venture Trust explains, “Unemployment figures have dropped significantly over the last few years and this is encouraging. But 11,000 young adults in Scotland have been out of work for more than a year. This is down to a number of factors which need to be addressed.”

    She continues, “Most worrying is that many of these young adults hail from life circumstances where they are not given the best start. There is often a lack of opportunities or support to gain the necessary life skills, motivation or confidence to embark on further education or training. This leads to a cycle of disengagement with the system, and no way of acquiring the skills required to gain employment.”

    Amelia explains, “The complexity of range of barriers facing some young people to enter employment, education or training can require significant investment in an individual achieving greater stability – addressing chaotic or destructive behaviours to become ready for employment such that they can sustain a job. These young people represent potential and untapped talent when supported and nurtured. Without this, long term unemployment can often lead to a feeling of hopelessness, depression, financial worries, homelessness, addiction, and trouble with the criminal justice system. At the other end of the scale, being given the opportunity to train, volunteer, gain work experience, and get work-ready can be life changing in a positive way.

    The Reaching Higher programme is designed to help care experienced, unemployed young people between 16 and 29 to gain skills, and work experience, and, with support, to gain sustainable employment.

    Reaching Higher offers a vital extension to the work that Venture Trust already undertakes in its Inspiring Young Futures personal development programme. The programme supports disengaged young people, to gain the skills needed to achieve their goals, grow in confidence and stability. The Reaching Higher programme will take those individuals who have reached a point where they are ready to get into employment, and give them the opportunity to shine.”

    “Nicole B is one of the first participants to have been enrolled on the Reaching Higher programme. She is 19 years old but has had a turbulent past, with lack of support leading to homelessness, subsequent unhealthy relationships, unemployment and substance abuse,” adds Amelia. “Her life was in turmoil and she was living with a friend when the opportunity came for the Reaching Higher programme. She started a four week ‘pre-employability’ course in October 2015, and was then chosen to start a one-year traineeship with Who Cares? Scotland, as an Events & Membership Admin Assistant.

    Nicole’s life has since turned around; she has a sustainable home, a purpose, and has set goals that she wants to achieve. Not only that, she has gained a great deal of confidence and her life is much more balanced; and there is hope.”

    Nicole comments, “Venture Trust changed me as a person. I used to be rebellious and now I want to knuckle down and do something really positive with my life. The Reaching Higher programme has given me a lot of support and skills that I never knew I had. It has allowed me to think about my dreams; before I would never have aspired to go to university and now I know I will!”

    For further details of the Reaching Higher programme, click here.

  • | News

    Venture Trust appoints new Chief Executive

    We are pleased to announce the appointment of Amelia Morgan as our new Chief Executive Officer.

    Amelia joined Venture Trust in June 2010 as Head of Finance & Administration. For the last three years she has also taken on the role of Head of Development for Venture Trust’s social enterprise, Venture Mòr. So she could not be better placed to take on the demanding challenges of leading Venture Trust charity into a successful future.

    Amelia has over 20 years’ experience in the public and charity sectors. She has a background in nature conservation, working with UK and Scottish statutory advisers to Government, initially in conservation policy and projects. She then moved into business support, gaining extensive experience in areas of finance & administration, governance, change management and organisational development. In her last role, Amelia was Chief Executive Officer of Yorkshire Universities, a membership charity furthering the contribution of higher education in Yorkshire and beyond. She was also a non-executive director of an online graduate recruitment social enterprise, promoting employment opportunities for graduates in Yorkshire.

    Amelia comments, “I’m passionate about supporting people to realise their potential. At Venture Trust, many of those we help have experienced considerable and complex challenges in their lives. They often have incredibly low self-esteem, and in many cases have been told they will not amount to anything. Their aspirations are based around surviving and getting by, whilst relationships are fractured, and behaviours destructive. We help them to change that.”

    She continues, “I have been extremely fortunate to be able to contribute towards the work of Venture Trust and to be part of a passionate team of people. We gauge our impact and success by celebrating the achievements of the people we support, whether it is gaining sustainable accommodation, reducing negative and risky behaviours, forging positive peer networks or moving towards employment, education, training or volunteering.”

    Amelia concludes, “Our goal should be that our services are valued for their impact – for individuals, communities and on society – and how we work; as a trusted and effective partner. Getting this right will ensure that some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people can lead more positive, productive lives.”

    Venture Trust bids a fond farewell to Mark Bibbey, the organisation’s most recent Chief Executive. Amelia adds, “Mark was a respected and influential leader, and will be greatly missed. We wish him all the best in his new role at PoppyScotland.”

    Media enquiries: Jess Whistance at Venture Trust on 01209 844 644 or email jessica@venturetrust.org.uk

  • | News

    Inspiring Young Futures Referrers Survey 2015

    Inspiring Young Futures – Referrers Survey 2015

    Towards the end of 2015, we sent out an online survey to 360 stakeholders and referrers to find out their views about our Inspiring Young Futures (IYF) programme - this report presents the findings.

    “Venture Trust provides a bespoke service for young people that makes a real difference in their lives by showing them that they can make positive changes and enjoy doing so”

    Key findings from the survey:

    1. Improving young people’s self-confidence, broadening aspirations and developing the ability to deal with challenge were identified by 98% as either important or very important reasons for referral.
    2. Improving the ability to develop positive relationships and build social networks, improve communication skills and emotion management skills were identified by 97% as either important or very important reasons for referral.
    3. It is a combination of the different stages of the Venture Trust IYF programme that leads to success, including the chance to receive support in the community and access to the unique opportunity that the Wilderness Journey provides.
    4. The community progression support to identify and access local opportunities in training, education, volunteering, work taster and placement opportunities are an important element of the programme.
    5. The quality/approach of Venture Trust staff, Venture Trust’s distinct approach to personal development and the high level of communication with referral partners were identified as particular strengths.
    6. The IYF programme meets particular needs in local areas and there is a high level of support for maintaining the programme. 98.3% of respondents agreed that “there would be a gap in the provision available if IYF was no longer available”.

    “Fantastic experience with Venture Trust, great support and tailored to the needs of the young person. Would definitely refer again!”

    Get the full survey results here.

    Dowload a copy of The Key Messages here.

    We are grateful to everyone who took part and we are very pleased with the positive feedback, plus the opportunity to take on board suggestions for improvement.

    For further information, please contact Sue Sinclair, Funding & Contracts Officer at sue@venturetrust.org.uk.

  • | News

    Persimmon Homes Award

    Persimmon Homes supports Venture Trust's wilderness journeys

    Venture Trust has recently received funding of £1,000 from Persimmon Homes, through its Community Champions scheme.

    The donation will be used to purchase new sets of fleece jackets and trousers, crucial items of clothing worn all year round by participants whilst on a wilderness journey. Our wilderness journeys take place all year round, often in the Scottish Highlands, so consequently these items of warm clothing are also in constant use!

    Jim Kirkpatrick of Persimmon Homes East Scotland, said; “Venture Trust work hard to improve the quality of life for thousands of disadvantaged young people through outdoor development activities and we are very proud to support such a brilliant cause.”

    Venture Trust provides all the kit & equipment required on a wilderness journey to remove this barrier for someone who wants to attend, and would like to thank Persimmon Homes, through the Community Champions Scheme, for their support.

    Click here to see the full press release.

    Read about a recent wilderness journey, delivered on our ‘Transitions to Independent Living’ programme, to see why this clothing is so important.

  • | News | Participant stories

    First participants experience life changing effects of Venture Trust’s Reaching Higher Programme

    Venture Trust, the charity that supports young disadvantaged people to make positive changes in their lives, has joined forces with Who Cares? Scotland, and Move On to develop the employability programme, Reaching Higher.

    The programme, funded through the Queen’s Young Leaders Grant scheme administered by Comic Relief, is designed to help care experienced, unemployed young people between 16 and 29 to gain skills, and work experience, and, with support, to enter sustained employment.

    Reaching Higher offers a vital extension to the work that Venture Trust already undertakes in its Inspiring Young Futures personal development programme. Inspiring Young Futures, funded primarily by The Big Lottery Fund, Inspiring Scotland and a number of UK trusts and foundations, supports disengaged young people, to gain the skills needed to achieve their goals, grow in confidence and stability. The Reaching Higher programme will take those individuals who have reached a point where they are ready to get into employment, and give them the opportunity to shine.

    Nicole Blain is one of the first participants to have been enrolled on the Reaching Higher programme, following her involvement with Venture Trust’s Inspiring Young Futures programme. Nicole is 19 years old but has had a turbulent past, with lack of support leading to homelessness, subsequent unhealthy relationships, unemployment and substance abuse. Her life was in turmoil and she was living with a friend when the opportunity came for the Reaching Higher programme. She started a four week ‘pre-employability’ course in October 2015, and was then chosen to start a one-year traineeship with Who Cares? Scotland, as an Events & Membership Admin Assistant.

    Andy Hardie, Senior Development Worker at Venture Trust, commented, “During the course of the Reaching Higher pre-employability training, the change in Nicole was amazing. At the start of the four week course she was quite shy. She was anxious and somewhat distant during the first couple of days, but nearing the end of the first week Nicole became more at ease within the group and also with the facilitators. She bonded really well with her peers, becoming more of a leader within the group especially during the teambuilding activities.”

    He continues, “Nicole opened up to me regarding her anxiety and how it had the potential to hold her back in achieving her goals. In doing this, she grew more confident, and spoke openly and honestly when talking about personal events. Nicole was a pleasure to work with and has masses of potential. I believe that when she puts her mind to do something she will achieve it.”

    Now in her role at Who Cares? Scotland, Nicole’s life has turned around; she has a sustainable home, a purpose, and has set goals that she wants to achieve. Not only that, she has gained a great deal of confidence and her life is much more balanced; and there is hope.

    Nicole comments, “Venture Trust changed me as a person. I used to be rebellious and now I want to knuckle down and do something really positive with my life. The Reaching Higher programme has given me a lot of support and skills that I never knew I had. It has allowed me to think about my dreams; before I would never have aspired to go to university and now I know I will!”

    For further details of the Venture Trust’s Reaching Higher programme, click here.

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