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Accelerate goes from strength to strength…


Accelerate goes from strength to strength……

The project continues to meet and exceed many of its targets as it moves into the third year of the project. Over 600 participants have now been signed up and supported by project partners with many reporting the positive impact the project is having on their lives.

The majority of participants express a feeling of increased confidence re their future job prospects and are now more actively looking for work and training opportunities.

Over 200 participants have engaged in training to improve their literacy, numeracy and IT skills and the project has exceeded its targets relating to how many participants are now accessing more job interviews.

The project is also on course to meet its target of how many participants move into employment or self employment as an exit from the project and is actively creating new opportunities for participants through partnership working.

This includes a partnership with the Coventry Building Society who are offering extended paid work trials to participants with sight impairments and a range of construction courses which are being offered by Coventry Building Workshops.

Staff from WATCH at the recent Celebration event


Donna’s story

A participant from Shipston has entered the world of work thanks to support from Accelerate

Donna Evans has secured her first job, as a catering assistant at Shipston High School after being helped with low self-esteem, lack of confidence and no previous experience of job hunting, which she said was holding her back.

Donna, who is now also taking qualifications in food hygiene, said: “I’m really enjoying being at work for the first time and have gained lots of new skills and already met some great work colleagues.

“I needed a job that would fit around looking after my children so when the opportunity to work at the school came up I jumped at it. It was originally on a trial basis as a replacement for someone, but things have gone really well and I’ve now been given the permanent job.

“The only thing that took a bit of time getting used to was working at a place where my son goes to school and serving him and his friends’ meals. I think we’re both ‘ok’ with it now.”

Leah Hutchby, Journey Guide, supported Donna in finding her new job.

She said: “To go from never having a job to securing part-time employment in a few months is a fantastic achievement and Donna has shown great courage to make it happen.

“The job will help her get more skills and boost her confidence, not to mention still allowing her to look after her children.”


Accelerate holds Celebration Event

Over 70 people gathered at the Coventry Rugby Club recently to celebrate the achievements of Accelerate participants and partners.

“When we launched Accelerate, we wanted to change the way the most disadvantaged are supported back into work or how they gain additional skills and training,” explained Mandy Bygrave, who is leading the project on behalf of Coventry and Warwickshire CDA.

“The same mechanisms and initiatives were failing so we decided to rip up the rule book and try something different. The answer was to bring together 21 local partners – all offering specialist support and advice – together through one single access point.”

She continued: “We are well ahead of our targets and the celebration event was held to say thank you to staff and partners and to say a massive well done to all the individuals that have taken part and are now in employment or ready to get back into work.”

Councillor Kevin Maton praised the impact of the programme during the two-hour event, which also showcased films and speeches detailing some of the personal stories and achievements of people that have taken part.

All partners – including Groundwork West Midlands, Heart of England Mencap, Coventry Cyrenians and Volunteer Centre Nuneaton and Bedworth – were at the event to help appeal to possible participants and  representatives from the Big Lottery and the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership were also in attendance.

Accelerate offers people from Coventry and Warwickshire individualised employment advice and support to break through some of the common barriers holding them back.

Mandy concluded: “We have also enjoyed success in engaging with hard to reach groups, outstripping targets for helping people with disabilities, individuals over 50 and those from an ethnic minority background or deprived wards in the county.”