Award-winning skills academy The Source is putting the fun into learning for teens journeying towards their futures.
The training provider, which has transformed over 10,000 lives since 2003, launched its latest scheme to help develop young people’s potential in September.
Its 38-week entirely free study programme is designed to help 16-19-year-olds gain qualifications and experience as they learn about the world of work and develop their ambitions and confidence.
The Department for Education’s Study Programme runs throughout the country and is designed to offer students ‘breadth and depth’, without limiting their options for future study or work, in addition to real experience and knowledge of the workplace.
A registered charity, The Source has 22 young learners onboard, who want to go on to pursue careers in a variety of sectors, including property development, law, midwifery, early years care and education, horticulture, accountancy and customer services.
As the academy is now based at Magna, one of the UK’s top science adventure centres, a learning experience at Magna’s Big Melt furnace and its Fire, Water, Earth and Air Pavilions was a must.
Team-building and problem-solving skills were encouraged during a visit to Sheffield escape rooms, Crack the Code.
A visit from Rotherham United’s Community Sports Trust saw the group learn about the wide range of job opportunities in sport and take part in team-building activities.
In addition, all learners have started their formal studies in Functional English, Maths, digital skills and a Level 2 qualification in employability skills. And each person had stepped up to the daunting task of speaking to the group.
“The project will spark entrepreneurial spirit and give young people a head start. They will join workforces with an experience-borne understanding of how businesses operate.”
Natalie Doherty, Deputy CEO of The Source, said: “The Study Programme is all about supporting individuality and growing potential. It’s a real opportunity for a young person to not only boost their English, Maths and employability skills, but also to develop as an individual and focus on their future goals and aspirations.
“Having got to know each learner and understand their needs, our tutors have been able to create the foundations which will give each individual the opportunity to explore and develop within an inclusive, non-threatening environment, one where everyone’s contribution is respected and appreciated.”
Exciting challenges lie ahead. In coming months, learners will get the chance to become entrepreneurs and launch and grow profit-making enterprises. They will meet mentors from local businesses who will encourage them and teach them the key skills they need to run a business, from HR, sales and marketing to negotiation, conflict resolution, motivating and managing employees.
The Source, which was crowned Training Provider of 2023 in the Sheffield City Region Apprenticeship Awards, is keen to hear from Sheffield City Region business owners or bosses who would like to step up to coach this process.
“It’s a real opportunity for a young person to not only boost their English, Maths and employability skills, but also to develop as an individual and focus on their future goals and aspirations.”
Natalie added: “The project will spark entrepreneurial spirit and give young people a head start. They will join workforces with an experience-borne understanding of how businesses operate.
“Business profits will be donated to charities of their choice, which encourages social responsibility.”
During their nine months with The Source, learners will gain valuable experience and relationships with local employers via work experience placements in the sectors they are interested in.
And their young leaders are already starting to blossom…
In just a month, The Source has seen its 22 young Study Programme learners transform from shy and under-confident strangers into supportive friends with a can-do attitude and big hopes for the future.
“When we first met the group, everyone was very quiet. They found it hard to speak to anyone they didn’t know,” explained Natalie. “Many of them did not quite achieve what they had hoped for at school. Some found the learning environment of large classrooms was not for them – and it felt like they were looking for a place where they could fit in.
“But just four weeks into the programme, we were witnessing the development of their individual characters. Friendships had developed and they had become very supportive of each other.
“From shy and nervous, they now have a can-do approach and a positive outlook on their future prospects. It’s been wonderful for our tutors to play a part in this.”
“Today’s society can be a difficult place for young people. Often they just need to be in a safe space, where they
feel respected and valued, so they can grow and develop.”
Learners are recording their thoughts in Study Programme diaries. One student wrote about her progress: ”I feel good on this programme and need to improve my communication skills further. It has contributed to developing my confidence.”
Another described how the course was helping her to focus on the future, saying, “I feel like I am starting to develop a plan of career opportunities within the law sector, which will help me reach my final goal.”
The Source is applying its 20 years of experience in developing people through apprenticeships, traineeships and work-based qualifications to its Study Programmes and is confident it has the formula right.
Natalie said: “Today’s society can be a difficult place for young people. Often they just need to be in a safe space, where they
feel respected and valued, so they can grow and develop.
“We are providing that safe space and are excited to watch our young learners progress over the coming months, and see what they go on to become.”
The Study Programme is open to 16-19-year-olds and also 19-24s with special educational needs. Enrolment for September 2024 courses begins in June. Apply by emailing Business.Development@thesourceacademy.co.uk