Leader of South Gloucestershire Council Cllr Toby Savage met some of the local people benefiting from the West of England Combined Authority’s £4 million Future Bright skills programme last week (Thursday 14 February).
Future Bright participants and their career progression coaches shared their stories with Cllr Savage (who also holds Cabinet responsibility for Skills and Employment in South Gloucestershire) and colleagues from South Gloucestershire Council and the West of England Combined Authority at the round table event, held at Bristol & Bath Science Park. The attendees heard how Future Bright is making a real difference to people’s lives, boosting their skills and improving their career prospects through tailored career coaching, funded training and support.
The pilot programme helps those in paid work and who receive benefits or tax credits to develop their skills, improve their careers and increase their incomes through personal coaching and funded training. Career progression coaches work with eligible individuals providing tailored personal and professional development to help them improve their career prospects and earning potential.
Sean cares for his family of five while working as a security guard but holds a long-term dream to become a paramedic. He said: “There were things I wanted to do with my life, but I found it hard to believe in myself. With the support of Future Bright and my coach, I’ve gained more confidence.
“I’m working hard in my current job and my manager has recognised this and rewarded me with a promotion. I’ve enrolled on a safety course and am taking driving lessons which will help with my current role and my future ambition to be a paramedic. Having someone like my coach there to listen to my concerns and to spur me on made all the difference.”
Katie Phillips, a single mum from Marshfield felt stuck in her career. Katie said: “I couldn’t see how to change my situation. As a single mum, I was working hard on a low income but couldn’t progress as I didn’t have the skills.”
With support from her Future Bright coach, Katie identified the training she needed to develop her career. She’s now completing a course in beauty therapy and has been encouraged to apply for a promotion at work. She’s also working towards a long-term goal to work as a self-employed beauty therapist. She said: “The support I’ve received from Future Bright has been huge. It has boosted my confidence and helped me to take steps to improve my career. Best of all, my son is really proud of me and I can finally feel like a role model for him.
“My career progression coach has been fantastic. She’s so supportive and enthusiastic. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel positive about the future for me and for my son.”
Cllr Savage said: “It was great to meet with some of the local people who are benefiting from Future Bright and to hear how much the programme has helped to build their confidence and progress in their careers. The combination of flexible advice, coaching and training, and funding support offered by the programme is clearly providing the boost the participants need to enable them to take control of their future. I was particularly impressed by the strong and effective relationships between those involved and their coaches.
“I look forward to following the participants’ journeys as they continue to develop and secure a brighter future for their careers.”
Future Bright is managed by the West of England Combined Authority working with Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils. The skills pilot programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions.
Regional Mayor, Tim Bowles said: “We’re delighted to be able to offer flexible, tailored support to our local residents through Future Bright. It’s clear that this West of England programme is already making a big difference and is helping participants achieve their potential and build on strengths they have but were previously unaware of. The work participants like Sean and Katie have been doing, with the help and support of their coaches, means they are on the right path to securing a better future for themselves and their families.”
To find out more about Future Bright and how it could help you, visit www.futurebright.org.uk or email your local council:
South Gloucestershire: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bath and North East Somerset: email@example.com