Friday 2 May 2014 07:02

Companies sought for $125,000 training programme

A global American company is donating $125,000 to help a Birmingham youth organisation inspired by the Prince of Wales prepare young people for work.

Alcoa Foundation, part of Alcoa Inc, the world's third largest producer of aluminium which has 200 locations in 30 countries, are working with The Pump to provide internships for unemployed youth in a two-year programme and are seeking companies willing to take part.

It will fund a 12-week course of activities designed to equip young people with the necessary skills and knowledge needed to become work ready. The Pump, formerly known as the Shard End Community Building Project (SECBP), is the realisation of a vision of the Prince of Wales, who wanted to create an outstanding building which would not only act as a focus and inspiration for the personal development of young people, but would also be designed and built by young people.The Pump’s partnership board, which is made up of organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors, worked to raise the funds required and find the site that would enable young people living in South East Birmingham to design and build their own centre.The £4m pound project in Kitts Green was completed in 2007, creating a prestigious building offering a range of inventive and creative solutions for young people, including a music studio.Six decades ago, Alcoa’s leaders established and endowed a non-profit entity - the Alcoa Foundation – to extend the company’s values to benefit the communities where they operate. Long before “sustainability” or “corporate social responsibility” became part of the business vernacular, Alcoa and all Alcoa employees understood the value of earning a social license to operate.

They have contributed $21.5m to non-profit organisations around the world and dedicated $4.5m towards science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and workforce development initiatives that have reached 200,000 students and teachers.The Pump grant is part of a $1.25m Alcoa initiative to provide workforce readiness training, paid internships with local manufacturers, and career planning and placement for 500 unemployed youth (ages 18 to 24) in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Jamaica, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. The goal is to equip unemployed youth with the skills and experience to start successful careers in manufacturing.The Internship Programme is a 12-week course of activities designed to equip young people with necessary skills and knowledge needed to become work ready. The programme also covers personal and social development which enables interns to acquire the interpersonal skills needed to succeed in the work place. There are a number of activities and residentials designed to encourage team work and communication skills. Charlotte Linforth, The Pump’s project director, said: “Throughout the programme interns will be given support and careers guidance to help them identify further training and job opportunities they can access once they complete the three week internship.

“Finding companies to take part is quite a challenge but the initiative offers businesses the opportunity to take on work-ready young people who have completed the course and we will pay the salary for the placement.

“If young people aren’t successful in gaining employment with the host company we will continue to work with those individuals on a 1-1 basis, offering job search, CVs writing, additional support with maths and English. In addition we will host quarterly careers events at The Pump to provide opportunities for interns to talk to companies and training providers to further their range of support and information.”

“It is a really great scheme and the need for such a programme over in Shard End is huge, as we suffer very high levels of youth unemployment.

Business interested in getting involved should contact James Pestridge on 0121 675 8381 or email [email protected]