Charity founder Fiona Simpson has spoken of her happiness at joining Swindon social enterprise The Platform Project.
Her aim is to help the organisation to support even more young people aged 13-21 to find work or take their next steps in life.
Fiona joined The Platform Project recently as a youth development manager on a part-time basis, thanks to a number of new funding grants.
She has worked with young people in various roles, including co-founding a charitable foundation in 2016.
Fiona said: “I feel hugely fortunate to have been offered a role working with Sadie at The Platform Project, as it allows me the opportunity to share my passion for making a difference to the lives of young people and I am inspired by what The Platform Project has achieved so far.”
Sadie Sharp, founder and managing director of The Platform Project, said: “We have been growing incredibly quickly since we launched and we have only been able to do so because we have had the right people working with us.
"The scale of the issues for young people around employability and creating opportunities has never been greater after covid-19 and we are keen, with Fiona’s appointment, to take our youth enterprise projects to more schools to help tackle the challenges presented by the pandemic.”
The Platform Project, based in Dorcan, is now in its fourth year and has already quadrupled the amount of funding received this year to help support the rapidly increasing number of young people unable to transition into work as a result of the pandemic.
Fiona’s new role will specifically help with the overall development of the internship programme, in which young people aged 16-21 attend the project's 'training workplace' for developmental work-experience.
The interns rotate around different roles and projects, including a youth magazine, a digital media marketing agency, and even a self-employment project. They develop a skills including using Teams, pitching and presenting, social media management, website design, videography, client liaison and time and project management, all whilst working alongside industry professionals from partner organisations.
The practical, hands-on experiences help build CVs and employability skills whilst providing the opportunity to try out different career roles before being paired up with a mentor to help broker their next steps on the career ladder. This could include moving into work or even setting up their own business.
Fiona said: “Almost 90 percent of the students on the internship programme go straight into employment or further education because the range of experiences on offer are focused on getting them work-ready.
“However if they do not get employment straight away, they will then be further supported by a mentor to guide them into an employment placement, and they will all have the ability to earn their own self-employed income as well.
"Our programme aims to produce professionals who are as pandemic-proof as possible!”
Further information about the project, including help for prospective interns and employer partners, can be found at www.PlatformProject.co.uk or email us on info@PlatformProject.co.uk