The Youth and Employer Support (YES) programme is designed to support young people and employers in West Lindsey tackle youth employment in the region.
From employability skills and work experience to 1-2-1 pastoral support, this unique programme offers local young people and their families the chance to build a brighter future.
While many of the young people we meet are looking for support to find sustainable work opportunities, no two stories are ever the same.
For some of the families that we work with, our usual methods of support may not be best for them and their specific needs.
One family that understands this well are the Dodds; whose son Sam* was assigned to the programme after struggling to find work since leaving school.
After working together for a short time, Lorraine - our Youth Engagement Lead, began to suspect that Sam may have symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Despite showing signs of ASD in the past, his behaviour was previously put down as being a ‘phase’ that he’d later grow out of.
Concerned that the programme may not be suited to Sam’s needs, Lorraine arranged for a local specialist to assess Sam before having him added to the waiting list for an official diagnosis.
Describing the process, Lorraine said: “I was able to form a real bond with this young person. He trusted me completely and I had a duty of care to do everything possible to help make his future a little easier than his past.”
Lorraine arranged for his benefits to be reassessed and supported him with attending appointments and filling in forms and paperwork.
His diagnosis took over two years to complete and concluded that Sam would need to be looked after for the rest of his life.
After having his new benefits claims dismissed, getting Sam and his family the financial support they needed proved difficult.
However, after weeks of working to get the decision overturned, Lorraine was finally able to secure him Personal Independence Payments (PIP) as well as opening up access to carers’ allowance for his mother.
Delighted by the news, the family could look forward to the future. With his benefits secured for the next five years, this made space for real change and finally gave them the peace of mind they needed.
After almost three years working with Sam, Lorraine said: “Not every young person can be schooled and made ready for the world of work but, with support they can be made more ready for the world we live in.”
She continued: “I am acutely aware that I do not make promises that I cannot keep but by being genuine, honest and pragmatic, most people will see a change for the better by accessing a support project such as YES.”
While Sam’s story is unique, our work with the Dodd family is a great example of what it means to be a tailored service.
As Sam is not ready to enter the world of work, our support will continue to be unique.
Whether this is provided through voluntary work and social opportunities or through working with our Riverside Training team; the Dodd’s can be sure that Sam’s support will continue for as long as it’s needed.
Could you use our help? To learn more about how the YES programme can help you, get in touch with Lorraine by calling 01427 800964 or emailing her at: Lorraine@voluntarycentreservices.org.uk
*Name changed for anonymity