CXK is this month celebrating the impact of one of its longest running youth programmes, Talent Match; which comes to an end across the south-east at the end of the year.
The Talent Match programme was funded over the course of 5 years by the Big Lottery Fund; and was designed to give unemployed young adults the support they need to take their next steps into employment or training. Available to 18-24 year olds who had been unemployed for a year or more, Talent Match was delivered in Thanet, Dover, Swale and Medway by CXK, in partnership with Prince’s Trust and KATO.
490 young people across those areas were supported throughout the 5 years, with 25% securing employment as a result. Through the programme, young people were supported for up to 18 months by a dedicated mentor. During that time they identified a career path, built skills, sourced work experience and job opportunities. They also prepared for interview, whilst building their confidence and self-esteem.
To celebrate the end of the programme, a rewards trip to London was organised for young people that had excelled in their personal development whilst on the programme. 13 young people were nominated to take part in the trip. They were nominated by their specialist Talent Match mentors, as recognition of their personal achievements.
The trip consisted of a river cruise along the Thames, the London Eye experience and a meal at Zizzi’s. For some the trip was an opportunity to make friends with other young people from the Talent Match programme. It was also an opportunity to overcome personal barriers; such as using the London underground for the first time and travelling to a large city.
Samantha, 23 and from Thanet, said: “Before joining Talent Match everything was in a bubble and didn’t feel real. I had to change my life and start again. So I made the best out of the situation. I used the support that Talent Match and my mentor gave me and tried to see the positives. I wish everyone who is in a similar situation would reach out and accept the help and advice and progress like I have.”
Talent Match mentor, Kerry Boyd, said; “We have worked with some wonderful young people who have overcome significant barriers and grown in confidence. We wanted to be able to offer them a reward for all of their hard work and to be able to enjoy a day out that is different from their everyday life. Seeing the young people motivate themselves during the day and have the ability to interact and bond with the others was incredibly humbling. I am very proud of them all and glad they now, as a result, have a small network to provide peer support post Talent Match.”