Supporting youth employability, that’s what we do here at Elgin Youth Development Group and at the end of 2022 we were one of 3 organisations to be nominated for a SURF Awards.  Although we didn’t win, we were delighted to be in great company, here is what the judges had to say about their visit and assessment of our project.

What is the aim of the project?

To provide paid employability programmes for young people aged 16‐24 facing employment barriers.

Where is it taking place?

Based in Elgin, Moray.

What has been achieved?

Elgin Youth Development Group (EYDG) provide employability programmes for young people not in education, employment, or training, who are under‐ employed, have a disability or mental health issue, are care leavers or at risk of offending. EYDG provide a supportive, friendly environment for people to learn new skills at a pace which suits their needs, whilst helping them appreciate the responsibilities of employment.

Most trainees begin a 16‐week EYDG trainee programme, working 12 hours per week in EYDG’s training cafe in The Warehouse, social enterprise The Inkwell or in youth work services. Placements range from catering, hospitality and facilities to social media and youth work. Young people learn skills such as customer service, barista training, catering, cleaning, and admin. They can also gain qualifications, including first aid and food hygiene. The trainees are supported with CV development and identifying work opportunities.

EYDG also offer 52‐week placements for targeted individuals, working alongside the Rank Foundation, and have supported the Kickstart Scheme, along with Moray Employment Recruitment Scheme, for those with multiple barriers to work. Of the 36 programme participants: 16 gained employment; 10 have gone to college; 5 are still on placement; and 2 moved to a partner organisation for specialist support. The remaining three are being supported to secure a positive destination.

Who is running it?

The programme is delivered EYDG, who work in collaboration with the Moray Pathways network.

Why did the judging panel like it?

The warmth and sense of putting the needs of young people first is very evident as soon as you enter the premises. The staff at EYDG are committed to allowing young people to develop at a pace that is suitable for their individual needs. They have a fantastic site and facilities that young people all have input to or responsibility for. The staff have developed resources and materials to support young people on‐site to complete tasks as independently as possible. The Employability Hub, based in the space, is an excellent model that could, and probably should, be rolled out across the country.