‘Talented, hardworking and an inspiration to us all’, just some of the praise reserved for Jade Wass, a 21 year old from Clifton as she received the ‘Shining Star’ award at the recent Talent Match Awards, hosted by Groundwork Greater Nottingham at the city’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Jade was joined by over 200 young people from across the D2N2 area who were being recognised for the effort and progress they have made to make their employment ambitions a reality.
Talent Match is an innovative unemployment programme targeting 18-24 year old’s who are furthest from the jobs market, including those who are completely outside of the benefits, work and training system and facing severe barriers to gaining the skills they need to get into work.
Over 20 awards were announced on the night, culminating with the ‘Shining Star Award’ for those who have stood out during their journey on Talent Match. Jade, who was part of the team of 8 young people who helped to plan the awards event had earlier been recognised in the Young People Participation YPP category before being called to the stage one more time to accept her award with customary modesty.
‘I can’t believe I won my first award so this second one is even more of a surprise. It just goes to show you should never give up on yourself and never stop believing in your potential. There are plenty of people who may well judge you but you cannot let the negativity get the better of you.
‘Before Talent Match, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but I’ve loved working with the team and now I’m going to pursue a career in marketing once I’m back from maternity leave. I feel like I can do anything and I just wish more young people could feel that way.’
Before the awards, the guests, including their families and mentors heard from an inspiring selection of speakers, including gold medal winning British Paralympian Stephanie Millward and business coach Sharon Roberts.
Stephanie and Sharon were joined by Neil Burke from Youth Employment UK who spoke about the newly founded Talent Match Kite mark, the first of its kind for employers to celebrate their good practice in supporting and developing a young workforce.
Groundwork Greater Nottingham was awarded £6.2 million of new funding aimed at supporting young long-term unemployed people into work over five years, to facilitate the programme over the D2N2 LEP area.
Youth unemployment is now one of the greatest challenges facing the country. In the current economic climate there is a danger that more young people will become long-term unemployed and move further away from being work-ready. With this in mind, the Big Lottery Fund launched an ambitious investment of up to £100 million to deliver creative ways to help young people find work or start their own enterprising business.
The Talent Match awards showcase the fantastic work the third sector partners do in tackling youth unemployment and supporting young people. Every year the event is planned and organised by young people on the programme.
Colin Bradley head of D2N2 and Operations Manager for Talent Match at Groundwork Greater Nottingham said;
“We’ve had an incredible day, full of inspirational stories and moments of pure emotion for all of us, the organisers, the families, mentors and most importantly, our talented young people.
“These young people have designed, driven and supported the programme to meet their needs and help and encourage others, they are a real credit to themselves and to us all.“
Since the launch of the programme nearly 1000 young people have been supported, with nearly 300 of these having found employment.
The final word goes to Jade, who had this advice for young people like herself who have faced challenges in getting into employment;
“I once heard someone say ‘shoot for the moon because even if you miss, you’ll still land among the stars’. I think that’s a great message for anyone who lacks that bit of confidence or has been told they will never amount to anything. Just get out there, find the training, find the opportunities like Talent Match and start to believe in yourself.’
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