TPM5 Report – The Opportunity Centre (Aspire-igen)

8th and 9th March 2023

Day 1 :

Day 1 of the TPM involved all delegates attending the Careers Live 2023 event delivered by The Opportunity Centre. Careers Live is a bi-annual conference 2023 which took place on 8th March 2023 at Leeds City Museum. It was the first face to face Careers Live since 2019, the 2021 event being on-line due to the constraints of the Covid -19 Pandemic.

Careers Live is run by our Shine Careers team who provide careers education, information advice and guidance services to schools, academies and colleges. It is important to them that our educators have the opportunity to access the knowledge and networks that will enable them to support our workforce of tomorrow.

In these post-Covid times, we are all too well aware of the impact of the pandemic on young people’s outcomes, hence our theme for the day, A Future for All, focusing on the need that nobody be left behind.

The Career in VET delegates had the opportunity to benefit from all presentations, and understand how careers guidance is delivered and understood in the UK. With leading speakers from across the country, it was a useful day for all.

After a welcome address from our Chief Executive, Caroline Harrison, leading researcher and writer on career education and guidance, Professor Tristram Hooley spoke about the challenges for careers advisers following the pandemic, and the need for social justice within careers guidance. Delegates took part in three workshops throughout the day. Leading on from his keynote session, Tristram led a workshop on positioning careers guidance within social justice.

David Andrews OBE, a leading expert on careers education and guidance in schools and colleges, delivered a session on leading an outstanding careers programme in your school or college, with Dr Jonathan Hopwood-Lewis from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority delivering workshops on regional and national labour market trends and future skills demand.

Fotini Vlachaki, Career & Social Inclusion Expert, Greece was due to deliver a keynote speech on Emerging challenges for career guidance practice and the need for Socially-Emotionally intelligent Career Guidance Practitioners but unfortunately the wi-fi worked against us (we are grateful for her giving up her time even though she was not able to present on the day).

Day 2:

The second day of the TPM was held in our centre in York, which primarily delivers vocational training to 16-19 year olds, as well as delivering a wide range of services to adults in the North Yorkshire area. The Opportunity Centre York is the central office for our Women’s Leadership and Management services, Adult numeracy programmes, and Lone Parent support programmes – all which feature aspects of careers guidance and development.

After a welcome slow morning – filled with discussion and conversation covering the previous day’s event, The Opportunity Centre team gave presentations on a number of different Erasmus+ project delivered by the International team in York and other centre.

The projects included:

Stay+: A presentation was given, as well as piloting of the new wellbeing app for young people. https://stayplusproject.eu/

A project to gamify positive behaviours of young people during the pandemic and beyond. It seeks to provide an innovative solution for VET professionals that have found it challenging to engage young people (aged 15-21 years old) through the transition to online/distance learning.

The STAY+ Platform will be developed with the overarching objective of empowering young people to become advocates of digital vocational training; with increased awareness of a subject area, health and wellbeing, and how to maintain their own motivation, manage their time and complete tasks.

YouthImpact+: A presentation, as well as some piloting and evaluation of training modules developed in the project. http://www.youthimpactplusproject.com/

The YouthImpact+ project is a 26-month Erasmus Key Action 2 project which aims to promote quality, innovation, and recognition of youth work through the platform and outputs, as this is an overarching theme and strategic objective of the 2019-2027 Youth Goals.

Increasing and maintaining the quality of Youth work across Europe is key to achieving the Youth Goals, and this can be done by ensuring youth organisations and youth workers are able to learn from each other by recognising and sharing good practices of other European youth projects, increasing the quality of youth work, the skills, competences and understanding of youth workers and in turn, facilitating high quality opportunities and support for the youths engaged with them.

OTiGED: A Presentation delivered, and discussion on the importance of the aims and objectives of the projects. http://otiged.org/ https://theopportunitycentre.com/projects/otiged-autism-can-work/

Increasing the Productivity of Autistic Young People and Supporting Their Transition to the Labour Market

Promoting equality and diversity within employment can support the wider equality of those with disabilities and increase awareness of the challenges individuals may face.

For this project, research will be carried out to strongly support disabled people so that they can take part in both working and social life more actively and comprehensively, to implement the Disabled Job Coaching model in a systematic way, and to provide more qualified service to people with autistic spectrum. In this respect, in order for the project to produce sustainable outputs, the presence of active stakeholders across our partner countries in Europe and their cooperation in the process will contribute to the employment of autistic individuals in a sustainable way.

After the project presentations, we concluded the meeting and had a tour of the city of York.