Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas and New Year opening hours

If you’re planning to drop in and speak to someone at Connexions Birmingham over the holiday period, please note our holiday opening arrangements:
  • Up to and including Friday 23 December: normal opening hours
  • Monday 26 December: all offices closed
  • Tuesday 27 December: all offices closed
  • Wednesday 28 December: drop-in service at Broad Street Connexions Centre only (1pm–4pm)
  • Thursday 29 December: drop-in service at Broad Street Connexions Centre only (1pm–4pm)
  • Friday 30 December: drop-in service at Broad Street Connexions Centre only (1pm–3.30pm)
  • Monday 2 January 2012: all offices closed
  • Tuesday 3 January onwards: normal opening hours

Monday, December 19, 2011

What Next ? - Event Follow up

The what next? events which took place on 20 October and 3 November were a great success and appreciated by all those who attended.

The idea of the events was to help young people with LDD and their families find out about the range of support and provision available to help young people with LDD make a smooth transition to adult life. It was also an opportunity for those of us who support young people to update our information on the services that are out there.

We had nearly 30 different exhibitors at each event, including Mencap, Adult Social Care, various FE colleges and training providers, Carefirst, Autism West Midlands and many others.

Well over 300 people attended the events including a large number of young people, some of whom were brought by their school or college.

The feedback we received showed that people really valued the events. Young people reported that they didn’t think there was anything we could do to improve the event. When asked how useful they found it, 94% rated it Good to Excellent and the majority said they would come to a similar event again.

For most parents and carers, having the range of organisations and agencies available under one roof was what they valued. They felt it was useful to be able to talk to the professionals on the stands and collect a range of information to take home and look at.

There were a few comments saying that people felt the event helped them to put the decisions they were trying to make into a wider context, while others mentioned the presentations and workshops as the most useful part of the event.

Connexions Birmingham was one of the organisations that were specifically mentioned as being helpful. 100% of the parents/carers and professionals who completed the feedback form said that they would recommend the what next? event to others.

Professionals also valued the networking opportunity provided by the event. The professionalism and enthusiasm of the people on the stands was particularly commented on. Some professionals brought young people with them to the events and commented on how it helped them to understand what the young person was interested in and exploring options.

Once again Connexions Birmingham was specifically mentioned as being helpful. When things are difficult for us it is good to be reminded that what we do is valued and appreciated by the people we work with and running an event like this helps to demonstrate that to others.

Grateful thanks to all of those who helped make the events such a success.

Monday, December 5, 2011

How the new Education Act 2011 changes the way we work

Whether you are a young person still in education, a professional working in education, a parent, an employer or a young person seeking employment or training, your views on these changes and how we should shape our new service from April 2012 are important to us.

Connexions currently has a statutory duty (one laid down by law) to provide Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance (CEIAG) to young people from the ages of 13 up to 19 years ( 25 years if a young adult has a learning difficulty or disability).

The service is delivered in partnership with schools and other learning providers as well as through drop in centres around the city.

The new Education Act 2011 will change the way that careers information, advice and guidance (CEIAG), is provided for young people. These changes will take place in schools from September 2012.

Department of Education guidance to schools advises that from September 2012, they will be responsible for ‘securing access to independent and impartial careers guidance for pupils in years 9-11’. This change moves the statutory responsibility for careers education, information, advice and guidance  undertaken by Connexions and places this responsibility onto schools. Connexions is currently exploring with schools what services they may require in the future to help them provide professional, impartial CEIAG for their pupils.

Department of Education guidance also recommends that ‘schools work in partnership with local authorities to ensure vulnerable young people receive the support that they need’. This recommendation means that from April 2012, Connexions will focus on providing a targeted service to pupils in schools and other young people not in education, employment or training.

Already a new National Careers Service (NCS) offers web and telephone based information and advice, with limited face to face advice for young people who are over 18 years , mainly through Job Centre Plus.

As a service, we have been through many changes and many names over the last 35 years but have always kept the delivery of an impartial careers information, advice and guidance service central to the service we offer.

The passing of the Education Act 2011 is by far the most significant change we have come across during this time. The new Act targets the support available from Connexions towards vulnerable pupils in schools and other young people who have left school and who are not in education, employment or training.

Feel free to comment below. Your suggestions and views will be fed into the consultation process.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Want to know what you can do after Year 12/13?

We’ve just updated our webpage on Year 12/13 Options for 2012. It tells you about your main options, where to get advice, and how to find out more.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Voice Is Power — Birmingham’s Young People’s Parliament

Voice Is Power is the formal citywide forum for children and young people in Birmingham. It is for anybody who lives in Birmingham and is under 19 years old.

VIP aims to stand up for all Children and Young People, and to link views together. There are lots of ways for you to share your views and get involved.

They are supported by key decision makers, so your views can influence decisions and changes. Find out more at www.vip.bham.org.uk.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Teenage magazines in Birmingham’s public libraries

Did you know that many libraries in the city have teenage magazines which you can borrow? Each library has chosen its own titles depending on the interests of the young people in the area. So whether you're mad on football or music, fashion or computer games you may well find something there for you...

Why not tell them which magazines you’d like to borrow by filling in the form at www.birmingham.gov.uk/teenagemagazines? Your comment will be sent to your local Birmingham library and will help to inform staff when they are choosing magazine subscriptions.

Want to know more about Birmingham’s great public library service, or find your local library? Go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/libraries

FILTER - a new way to find things to do...

FILTER is a new website for young people in Birmingham. www.filter.me.uk is all about things going on in Birmingham. Search for events and get details of hundreds of activities, projects and showcases for arts, sports and heritage, all across the city.

Monday, November 7, 2011

In Year 8 or 9 and thinking about your options choice?

In Year 9 you will be making a choice about which subjects to study in Years 10 and 11. At some schools, you may be making these choices in Year 8 and then studying your chosen subjects from Year 9 onwards. You will need to choose which GCSE subjects you want to take and, depending on what your school offers, you may have a choice of other courses as well. There are some compulsory subjects that you have to study and other optional subjects that you can take because you enjoy them or need them for your career plans. You’ve got some important decisions to make, but you’ll also have lots of help and support to make your choice. Our website has a complete section on Year 8/9 Options and it has just been fully updated — take a look at how it can help you with understanding your options, finding out more, and making your decision.

Common Purpose Young Million Workshops

Saving a generation of young unemployed talent in Birmingham

There are nearly one million unemployed young people in the UK and from August 2010 to August 2011 youth unemployment in Birmingham rose by 2,052 to 15,291 bringing the percentage of young people who are unemployed to 24.7%. This is the highest percentage of any city in the UK.

There are many initiatives that exist to help unemployed young people find a job, yet few that offer the training and development opportunities they would have received from employers, if they were in work.

This is why international leadership development organisation Common Purpose has started the Young Million campaign , to offer some of the unemployed young people of Birmingham, and across the UK, the same opportunity to develop their leadership skills as those who have a job.

Within two days of sharing the idea with 30,000 of their alumni in the UK, Common Purpose had raised enough donations to run the first two workshops.

Sir David Bell, non-executive director of The Economist, said:
“The rise in youth unemployment shames us all and could potentially damage the UK economy. But there are concrete things we can do to stop this awful waste of young talent and young lives and we must do them.”

Louise Teboul, Midlands Operations Director, said:
“Birmingham has one of the youngest population profiles of any European city, so this is a really critical issue for the future success of the city. This has really touched a nerve with our Common Purpose alumni in Birmingham and they have been very generous with their time and money, so we’re really pleased that we can launch our first Young Million course in Birmingham. We hope that it will make a real difference to some of our unemployed youngsters.”

The workshop will run on three separate days, 23 November, 30 November and 8 December, and can take up to 50 participants. Each applicant should be:

  • Aged 18-25 at date of application
  • Currently unemployed and not in full time education
  • Actively looking for employment
  • Resident in the United Kingdom

Applicants must have the desire or potential to be a leader. They can demonstrate this through their family, community, work or academic achievement, through current activities or responsibilities and community roles, or through nomination from a friend, family member or colleague.

Common Purpose are still seeking donations, both financial (£100 will fund one young person to take part) and in-kind (venues and speakers).

To donate or apply, visit Young Million: Common Purpose
email youngmillion@commonpurpose.org.uk
or contact Common Purpose on 0121 625 3269.

For further information please contact:
Louise Teboul or Heather Truepenny
Operations Director Senior Course Manager
T: +44 (0)121 625 3269 T: +44 (0)121 625 3269
M: +44 (0) 7961 556 378 M: +44 (0) 7961 556 378


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Achieving Against the odds

Cities for Active Inclusion  held a conference about employment for Young People on  the 5th of October.

Two of the young People, that Connexions Birmingham have helped,  delivered a presentation form their point of view about what worked and what didn’t. They ( Nathaliea and Letitia) stole the show with their honesty, humour and directness.
There were a lot of delegates from all over the country and from public, private and third sector -- all with a stake in improving employability and employment opportunities for young people. In that respect it was quite tough, but I think we gave a good account of what we do and how we do it.

  • Key points from the young people:
  • They benefit from professionals who 'stay around'  - ie sustained and consistent service.
  •  They need more opportunities to do work experience.
  • They need to feel its ok try things out - ie don't be afraid to fail.
  • Young people should be encouraged to create their own opportunities - ie be innovative (the Princes Trust is a key player in facilitating this)
  •  The apprenticeship minimum wage is not a living wage if you live independently ( my 'in-work calculation' slide  was a triumph! )
  •  The job centre and current benefit system does not enable young people to better themselves or get out of the benefit system.
  •  Lack of internet access is a real problem for many YPs from vulnerable groups.
  • YPs want more opportunities to find out about different types of work and see what's out there.
  • YPs have a lot of good skills in communication, leadership and team work (social networking and the recent riots were given as examples) . These skills need to  be acknowledged and channelled into EET opportunities.

A recurring theme that came out through out the day was a general feeling that institutions, organisations and agencies are not moving quickly enough to change: 'Act, think, behave differently' .   This is why the problems with youth unemployment and under achievement (particularly with vulnerable groups) does not go away. It was suggested by a delegate that if practitioners and service users had a part in the decision making things might change more quickly.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"what next?" event returns

After a break of eight years 2011 will see the return of the what next? events that were run between 2000 and 2003.
For the last two years the Transition Group of Birmingham City Council have run Information, Advice and Guidance events aimed at young people with LDD, their families, friends and professionals who support them. The events provide an opportunity to find out about the range of support and provision available to help young people with LDD make a smooth transition to adult life.
This year Connexions Birmingham is taking the lead in organising these events with support from the Disabled Children’s Team and we have taken the opportunity to link the events to our established what next? publication.
This autumn there will be two events:

  • Thursday 20 October from 1.00pm to 8.00pm
    The Saffron Centre
    256 Moseley Road
    Birmingham B12 0BS
  • Thursday 3 November from 3.00pm to 8.00pm
    Carrs Lane Church
    Carrs Lane
    Birmingham B4 7SX

We are expecting a wide range of organisations, agencies and services to exhibit at the events including:
Children’s and Adult Disability Teams
Voluntary organisations
Supported Employment Services
Local colleges with supported learning courses
Training providers
Organisations supporting independent living
Schools have already had some initial information about the events and flyers are being sent out to all young people in Years 9 to 14 who have a statement. A supply will also be available to area teams so that you can pass them on to other young people who you think would benefit from going to one of the events.
The events are also a great opportunity for you to update your own knowledge of the options and support for LDD clients.
Following feedback from schools, the event on 20 October is going to start at the earlier time of 1pm so that groups of young people can attend the event and get back to their schools before the end of the school day.
There are also going to be workshops at both events, which visitors can attend to find out more about transition planning and services that support transition.

Beyond 16

Beyond 16 is our guide - online, in print and downloadable PDF - to help you make decisions about what to do when you finish Year 11. It has just been completely updated and revised for young people who will finish Year 11 next summer. It covers the four main options available to you when you leave school:
  • taking an education course at school or college
  • joining an Apprenticeship programme with an employer
  • starting a Foundation Learning programme at school, college or with a work-based learning provider
  • finding a job, ideally with some training provided
You can get Beyond 16 through the Connexions Birmingham website.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Higher Education Myth Busting Materials

We’ve been working with Aimhigher to develop some Higher Education myth-busting materials, which are now live on our website:
Also, our revised LMI World of Work webpages are available for more information about the Labour Market, covering topics like:
  • What is Labour Market Information (LMI)?
  • How can LMI help me beat the recession?
  • World of work headlines
  • Local job trends
  • What are employers looking for?
  • Building your skills and experience

Monday, July 11, 2011

Introducing our blog...

This blog is one more way that young people in Birmingham (Great Britain) can get messages from Connexions Birmingham - and post us responses, queries, whatever. Please remember that our main source of online information remains our website - go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/connexions and then select “Connexions web”.