Over the past 18 months, we have been engaged in the Work Live Leicestershire project.
The WiLL project, which is being led by sight-loss charity Vista, and funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, aims to help over 500 people into work, training or learning opportunities in rural areas.
During our time on the project, we have invited members of our peer panel to gain skills, experience and increase their exposure and awareness of employers across the county.
In this case study, let us tell you about the opportunities our peer panel members have been involved in and share their experiences too…
As a virtual organisation, we often have paid work opportunities for young people to gain digital skills and experiences in marketing, research, graphic design and training events and webinars.
Graphic design experience
Graphic designer and illustrator Zac Cummings, was first introduced to Access Generation through Voluntary Action Leicester and the WiLL project.
Zac is based in the Hinckley and Bosworth district in Leicestershire and wanted to join the peer panel to share his views as an autistic candidate with employers and build confidence in himself.
As well as writing a blog sharing his messages to employers, we gave Zac a paid work opportunity to utilise his graphic design skills.
Zac reproduced and updated our accreditation logos – see below.
Jemma Redden, director of Access Generation said: “Zac is a fantastic graphic designer. Not only were the logos delivered to brief, but he also turned them around very quickly and was a pleasure to work with.”
Zac said: “It really feels like they listen and trust everyone involved, I’ve also not felt pressured at all and at a couple of points explained my difficulties and anxieties and they’ve been very understanding and positive.”
I’ve not been part of the peer panel for long and I have been limited by the pandemic in some ways of having the ‘normal’ experience but in spite of this, I feel like an included member already, I feel valued and relied on. Overall my experience with the peer panel has been excellent.”
Our Employment Accessibility Research is designed and delivered by young people to assess an employers website and online job application processes.
For the Work Live Leicestershire project, we wanted to find out how accessible and supportive employers are in the rural districts.
Working with our peer panel, we identified 50 employers from each rural Leicestershire area (Market Harborough, Melton Mowbray, North West Leicestershire and Hinckley and Bosworth). The 200 employers were randomly selected to be externally assessed by our peer panel using our Employment Accessibility Research matrix. Eight members of the peer panel took part in the paid research work.
Some of the peer panel members shared their experience and gave employers their messages inside the report that was published with the results of their research on rural employers – see the report below.
Some of the peer panel members are also living in rural Leicestershire.
Suraya, a member of Access Generation’s peer panel, said: “I live in a rural community and since graduating I have found it hard to find employment. I would love to see more local employers offering graduate or trainee positions and making the job application process supportive to someone who hasn’t got the experience yet.”
My experience with Access Generation was incredibly positive – we had constant support with all work we were doing from Jemma and Chris as well as the opportunity to present and showcase work completed which for myself, has lead to full-time employment gained straight after the internship – I wouldn’t have had this opportunity had it not been for the internship with AG.”
“I gained a lot of confidence during my time working with Access Generation – through meeting new people and networking with a variety of businesses.
It is great to be a part of such an important and positive movement, especially at times like this.” – Abbie S, peer panel member
For more information about Work Live Leicestershire visit https://www.workliveleicestershire.org.uk/