Last week The Junction Box held its first introductory session at the Jobcentre Plus which proved to be another huge success for Wave-length. Attendees of the session described the idea as ‘inspiring’ and ‘exciting’. Almost all of the attendees expressed a keen interest in what the Junction Box Programme has to offer and seemed particularly captured by the ability to decide on the content of the workshops so that they are always relevant each month. One attendee said that the introductory session to the workshops helped with their self-motivation and confidence which has given them the push to come on the workshops and pursue self-employment. Already we are seeing positive results and seeing a positive change in people’s attitudes.
Twelve of the fourteen who attended the session have expressed a keen interest and would like to move forward onto the two half-day workshops in September. The Junction Box Programme is no doubt going to be revolutionary as it will be helping the unemployed population of Telford find alternatives to employment, learn how to start up a business and find meaningful work. We are hoping that this will result in Telford seeing less of its population as unemployed or unemployable.
Each month we will run two workshops that will be held at Telford College of Arts and Technology, and then in addition peer meet ups each month which will allow the groups to discuss what it is that they need to know in order to move them forward. Each month the workshops are designed to meet the specific needs of the attendees which allows them to structure and choose the monthly subjects and gain information that is beneficial to them. Whilst this means it can be a very dynamic approach it means it remains always fresh and meeting the need of the individual(s) and not a prescribed agenda designed by ourselves, therefore helping them move forward efficiently and in the most productive way possible.
The workshops are suitable for a wide audience, not necessarily just for those who already have a business idea and want to pursue it. People can attend these workshops even if they are just unsure about self-employment and want to learn more about what it actually is and how it can benefit them. This means that although some people might discover that self-employment is definitely not for them, at least they have made an informed decision and have had access to all the relevant information. These workshops will also be beneficial to those who have learning difficulties or mental health problems who might find it hard to stay in long-term employment, helping them realise that there is an achievable alternative where they can choose work patterns to suit them. The programme is designed to share with individuals any specific and additional support/grants for those starting up a business whilst facing social challenges.
Although we have only got workshops running in Telford at the moment, Staffordshire Council and many other organisations have expressed an interest and we aim to make these workshops available nationally in the not too distant future.
Here at Wave-length we are excited about the future of the Junction Box programme and its potential to help people find meaningful work and not have to worry about the barriers they face when searching for or staying in long-term employment. Far too often the idea of self-employment is seen as a negative and unachievable option, whereas in reality it is actually a positive solution for those who find long-term employment difficult due to the barriers they face. It’s about reminding people that you do not have to be a business person to start a business you need the spark of an idea.
We are delighted to have received a grant from the Jobcentre Plus enabling us to deliver the workshops for 12 months. We welcome the support and commitment from the Telford Jobcentre Plus and Telford College of Arts and Technology, allowing the workshops to run successfully to ultimately help support and change the lives of the Telford community.
For more information on the Junction Box Programme and how it may benefit you, please email firstname.lastname@example.org