Young people in our communities are four times more likely to be unemployed than older people. Many young people are struggling with the transition between education and employment, lack of adequate skills/work-readiness, poorly written CVs, confusion in choosing career paths and lack of confidence.
Over the last 8 years we have worked with about 120 young people offering them work experience placements and volunteering opportunities and supported them towards paid employment in places such as the NHS, Bank of Scotland and Enabled Scotland.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation signed a partnership agreement with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, acting through Jobcentre Plus to provide ongoing work experience opportunities for young people. We work alongside coaches and advisers at Jobcentre Plus to take on young people for work experience placements lasting between eight and twenty-four weeks. Before taking on any young person, we conduct interviews. Once the young person has been assigned a role, we provide full induction and training, mentoring and pay for external training courses including ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence). While on the job, we carry out monthly performance reviews to find out how the person is progressing and what additional support that could be offered. We also provide CV checks, job referrals and mock interviews once the young person has been invited for an interview for a paid position. Most importantly, we provide emotional support, encouraging young people to believe in and understand their abilities.
The organisation also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, which focuses on unemployed young people aged between 16 and 29, particularly those who are more disadvantaged in the labour market. The organisation has also entered into a service level agreement with Robert Gordon University to provide placement opportunities for social work students and provides volunteering opportunities for students from Aberdeen University to ensure more young people across the north east are supported to be work ready.
Asthma and Allergy Foundation is a people-led organisation, relying heavily on the strengths, skills and experiences of our service users, staff, partners and volunteers who play a crucial role in the organisation’s work. The organisation is mostly staffed by young people who work as volunteers and some of the volunteers suffer from asthma. These are people who understand what it is like to live with asthma and always go above and beyond to offer help to the people we support. Working hand in hand with staff, these young volunteers enable people with asthma and their families to access support quickly when they need it. The organisation wouldn’t be where it is if it wasn’t for these amazing young people who bring huge effort, commitment and contributions to the work of the organisation.
The burden of asthma on children, young people and their families cannot be over emphasised. Asthma affects more than 35,000 people in the Grampian area and there are 368,000 people with asthma in Scotland, including 72,000 children. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation, which recently opened an Asthma Support Centre in Dyce, is the only organisation of its kind in Scotland whose sole aim is to reduce these figures. The charity ensures that everyone who turns to them for support gets the help they need so they or their loved ones can live a healthier, active and symptoms-free life.”
Sean Ambrose, from Aberdeen, recently completed a work experience placement with Asthma and Allergy foundation, and currently works as Continuous Improvement Technician with Marathon Oil Corporation. Sean was originally trained as a Health Promotion Officer and was further trained as a Project Co-ordinator with the foundation. He said “Overall, my time at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation was memorable, and I was made to feel valued and treated professionally by both my peers and my supervisor. I developed key skills such as teamwork and communication skills and received both moral support and constructive professional advice regarding career decisions. Martina was fantastic. She would always listen, offer moral support and give great advice regarding my future career decisions and helping to develop my CV.”
Martina Chukwuma-Ezike, Chief Executive of Asthma and Allergy Foundation said “As an organisation, we believe employability skills form part of the answer in supporting young people into employment, ensuring young people are supported to take ownership of their own skill development, build confidence in themselves, while providing necessary training and mentoring as well as encouraging young people to believe in their abilities. I am delighted that we have been able to help many young people gain vital skills, giving them the opportunity to be gainfully employed and make meaningful contributions to our economy.”
When asked about the kind of advice he could offer to young people considering volunteering or taking up a work experience placement, Sean said “I think it is extremely helpful for young people to take up a work experience opportunity with this great organisation as it assists an individual to develop key transferable skills and professional working relationships with others in the same environment or associated businesses.’’
The charity, which relies on donations to enable it to continue to provide support to the local community, also runs several education and engagement programs and provides bespoke asthma awareness training sessions for companies and organisations to help employees learn more about the condition. Particularly on how to recognise the symptoms and provide care when needed.
For more information about the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, please call
(01224) 973001, email:
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