Junction Box connects with Telford Job Centre Plus

Junction Box connects with Telford Job Centre Plus

Ever wondered if there is a viable alternative to employment? Wave-length can show the way.

We at Wave-length have been working hard to get our Junction Box self-employment workshops delivered in Shropshire.  Last month we were fortunate enough to receive a grant from the Jobcentre Plus which enables us to hold 2 half day workshops a month over a period of twelve months.  This is the amazing outcome of Wave-lengths hard work and we are looking forward to working with JCP so we can deliver our workshops to make a difference and help those who need it most.  Our first information session is to be held at the Telford Job Centre on the 20th August.

JCP accepted our grant request as they could see how we would provide support to individuals and tackle local worklessness and multiple barriers to employment in a comprehensive and joined up way, in line with local priorities or other activity in support of the DWP (Department of Work and Pensions) objective of helping individuals access and/or re-integrate into the labour market.

The workshops provide information and guidance on alternatives to employment, that being self-employment, and will make people realise their own skills and value and how to develop their knowledge and skills to create a successful business of their own, without the added worry of keeping a job through employment.  The workshops are best aimed at people who often struggle with staying in long-term employment and have social barriers to contend with such as people with disabilities, ex-offenders, carers, over 50’s and the long-term unemployed.

The workshops will consists of 2 half day sessions each month and, additionally, attendees to these workshops will be invited to attend monthly group meet ups at Telford College of Arts and Technology, who have expressed an interest in the programme and have agreed to provide the rooms and facilities for the workshops, which again is a great new partnership for Wave-length.

The sessions are not all about getting people to go into self-employment, nor is it necessarily for people who have a specific idea for a business.  The idea is for the workshops to educate people on what self-employment actually is and how to go into it, and if self-employment is not for them, then at least they have fully explored their options and have arrived at an informed decision about their future working life.

They are designed to be dynamic, help people see an alternative to employment and unlock people’s knowledge and skills, that they may not have known they had, and apply them to a strategy, whether it be to start up and run a successful business of their own or not.  Too often self-employment is seen as a negative thing that is perceived by some as almost impossible to go into due to common factors such as the financial side of running a business.  In reality, in today’s society, self-employment is an opportunity to run a business and do things your own way, particularly to someone who might perceive themselves as ‘unemployable’.

The beauty of these workshops is that people will be able to request information and guidance on certain subjects so that they can progress further in planning their own future, and Wave-length will then do their best to deliver a workshop on the requested subject.  They are there to support and meet the needs of people in ways that are useful and productive, opposed to just giving information that may not even be relevant.  We will be there to listen and provide bespoke sessions to support people in the best way possible.

Overall the Junction Box workshops will improve employment outcomes or prospects of future employment outcomes for long-tern unemployed individuals and groups facing the most complex and intractable barriers to work and help individuals access and/or re-integrate into the labour market.

Ann Johnson, who partners with John Rainford on the programme says, ‘This is a great opportunity to make a difference to people’s lives in Telford and what has been great about this year long project with the JCP is that we were successful gaining the funding through entrepreneurial design and partnership.  So John and I coming up with an idea, set values and clear objectives that the JCP and Telford College of Arts and Technology could see would support the wider community. It has already been a great thing to be part of and it’s only the start of it.  For me I grew up in a family of self-employed people so this alternative route to employment was all around me and the support always at hand so a natural progression for me, but it’s clear for some who face social challenges that this might not have been considered so it’s a chance to unlock such potential and if they then want to progress, we can help them grow an idea into reality instead of just facing the challenges of seeking out a job.’

For more information on the Junction Box workshops, please contact lauren@wave-length.org.uk

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