Over 400 local young people helped by The YES Project

The YES Project has helped over 400 young people to take steps towards employment, training and education by offering a range of courses and tailored support to meet individual needs. Working closely with its young participants, the YES Project encourages them to achieve their goals and see a brighter future.

A partnership of organisations and charities from across Leicester and Leicestershire, the YES Project is managed by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire.

One YES Project participant reflects on her time with the Project:

“I’m really proud that I got a job. I feel that I’ve pushed myself and am ready for the next chapter.”

Supporting 427 young people since its commencement in July 2016, the Project has already hit its lifetime target. To date, the YES Project has helped 128 young people to obtain employment, with a further 71 moving into further education or training.

Abdul Asghar, YES Team Manager said:

“The YES Project had been immensely successful and we’re delighted to hit our overall lifetime target. Helping over 400 young people from across Leicestershire is a great achievement, we’re delighted that so many of our participants have found employed roles since exiting the Project.”

The current YES Project continues to offer one-to one support to its current participants to the end of October 2019.

The YES Project is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

The YES Awards 2019

Attended by over 60 people and held at Hansom Hall in Leicester city centre, the event proved to be an inspiring afternoon. The event celebrated nominated participants achievements and on the day, attendees heard truly inspiring stories of determination, overcoming challenges and personal growth.

Kickboxer and ‘This Girl Can’ Sporting Champion, Natasha Mina, joined the celebrations as the motivational speaker, delivering a passionate and uplifting account of her own personal journey and the barriers she’s overcome to thrive and inspire the young people to follow their path to success. Natasha said:

A truly liberating and inspirational event that paved a pathway for every single attendee. A clear demonstration of how invaluable these projects are for young people.

The YES Project winners were decided by the projects Delivery Partners taking many factors into consideration, including the barriers each participant had overcome. After each individual Delivery Partner had awarded their chosen participant, the overall ‘Young Person of the Year’ was announced.

As well as the award ceremony, the afternoon concluded with a free raffle for YES Project participants including prizes donated by local businesses.

Summing up the day

Chris Gray from delivery partner Seed Creative, summed up the day:

I feel very proud to be part of the YES project when I heard about how so many of those young people had overcome significant barriers and are now either in employment or full-time education. The YES Project celebration event hammered home to me the need for projects, such as these, to exist and for us to ensure that young people who are feeling lost and vulnerable receive the support that they need.

The YES Project is proud to offer support to young people in Leicester and Leicestershire, delivering a wide range of courses and tailored support to meet their individual needs.

YES Project Awards 2019 attendees pose for group shot, smiling and pulling silly faces

About the Project

The YES Project is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

YES Project is made up of seven youth organisations and charities from across Leicester and Leicestershire. The aim of the project is to support young people aged 15-24 to take steps toward employment, training and education.

YES Award Winners 2019

The YES Project Awards were held on Monday 18th February 2019 at Hansom Hall in Leicester to celebrate the achievements of its young participants aged 15-24.

It proved to be an inspiring afternoon hearing the award winners’ journeys; the barriers they’ve overcome, their achievements and plans for the future. The award winners were decided by each of the

YES Projects Delivery Partners.
Speaking of the event, YES Project Executive Manager, Vandna Gohil said:

It was a great event that celebrates the achievements of young people and the progression they’ve made towards education, employment and training – truly heart-warming and inspiring.

Young Person of the Year

The overall “Young Person of the Year” was awarded to Alex, nominated by The Bridge East Midlands.

Alex wanted support with motivation, confidence building and dealing with his anxiety. Before starting YES Project, Alex wouldn’t leave the house, avoided family gatherings and holidays as his anxiety was too much. With his keyworker, Alex undertook small tasks to build up his confidence such as going into town for the first time in three years. Alex went on to complete the Engage programme at Twenty Twenty and is currently on the J2W course. Through The Bridge and YES Project Alex passed his theory test, takes the bus into town by himself and attends Leicester football matches with his dad.

The other winners


Imogen with keywork Collette, receiving her award from Youth Leadership Group

Imogen won an award from Youth Leadership Group. She’s demonstrated continued motivation, enthusiasm and commitment throughout her time on YES Media and Team YES programme. She is a valuable member of Youth Leadership Group, providing a thoughtful and intellectual point of view.


Izzabella receiving her award from YES Enterprise

Izzy was low on confidence when she joined the YES Project in January 2018. She left half way through her college course and didn’t know where to turn. She was initially looking to start a business with the help of YES Enterprise. Regaining her confidence through the Enterprise and Media programmes to such a level, she made the decision to enrol at College and has started A Levels.


Reece receiving his award from Twenty Twenty

Reece was nominated by Twenty Twenty to win an award. With the support of his coach and one-to-one sessions, Reece has made positive steps to overcome low confidence and anxiety. Reece struggled early on but showed commitment to the project and slowly began to make progress. He’s now focused on getting a job and has a work placement lined up, making his way to the working world.


Luke with keyworker Zuli, receiving his award from Seed

Luke started on the YES Project by signing up to YES Media. At this time he had low confidence levels and needed to engage in activates to help rebuild. He excelled on the programme, showing creative flair and commitment to the programme. Luke is a member to Youth Leadership Group, creating a promotional presentation for the group. He worked with VAL’s communication team to develop branding and completed a work placement with a local design agency.


Ilam with keyworker Ebrahim, receiving her award from BYCS

Bangladesh Youth & Cultural Shomiti (BYCS) nominated Illam for an award. After completing her secondary education abroad, she had some functional English but lacked qualifications. She was referred to BYCS and onto the YES Project. Ilham advanced quickly and successfully completed 5 GCSE’s, progressing to College where she is undertaking A Levels and BTEC.


Samantha receving her award from Soft Touch Arts

When Sam began the YES project as one of Soft Touch Arts’ first participants she was very reserved and quiet, with some anxiety and social communication issues. By accessing the Arts and Enterprise programmes she has been able to gain confidence, overcome her anxiety and utilise her skills to produce amazing pieces of art. Sam has now started her own business.


Rhys receiving his award from Prince's Trust

Rhys was nominated by delivery partner, The Prince’s Trust. Before starting the YES Project, Rhys was terrified of identifying as Transgender to new employers and whether they’d be accepting and accommodating. Rhys enrolled on the M&S Get into Retail programme to learn practical work experience as well as employability and interview skills. He excelled on the course and found the programme to be supportive and respectful. Rhys was successful in securing a 12 week, 16 hour contract with M&S.


Martin receiving his award from Leicestershire Cares

Martin initially found it difficult to express his goals for the future and how he would achieve them. By joining the YES Project he was able to work closely with his keyworker to set realistic goals. Martin performed remarkably on his work experience at HMV that they offered him an employed position. This gave Martin an enormous self confidence boost and Martin realised he had the skills to thrive in the working world.


Sophie receiving her award from Warwickshire College

Sophie was nominated by Warwickshire College for demonstrating incredible strength to improve her confidence. When she joined the project she barely spoke and was nervous around new people. She’s accessed multiple delivery partners, working closely with staff to focus on self-development. Sophie has made significant progress and is now more independent, volunteering regularly at LOROS.

I felt supported and not judged

In just 9 weeks Ricky has transformed his life with the support he received from the YES Project.

In April 2018, Ricky contacted the Prince’s Trust as he was struggling to find work due to low confidence and lack of motivation. The Prince’s Trust referred Ricky to the YES Project so he could get support to overcome his barriers.

Ricky was open to trying something new and step out of his comfort zone. His YES Project keyworker Ayeshea from Flying Fish signed him up to the YES Media course..

“I really enjoyed the course, I found lots of new things that I enjoyed, such as acting. I was working in a group a lot and it really helped to build my confidence. I also get very anxious in group activities but working on YES Media really helped me feel more at ease and more comfortable.”

During his time on the project Ayesha supported him to go on to attend music sessions at Soft Touch Arts and mental health support from Vickee at The Bridge.

“I felt really supported and not judged. Ayesha felt more like a friend, someone I could trust and talk to about anything without beginning judged.”

Following a successful job application Ricky got invited for an interview at CEX. In preparation Ayesha helped Ricky with interview questions, which paid off as he got offered the job.

Looking back on the progress he has made on the project Ricky said:

“I have really escaped my comfort zone by trying something new, and it has helped me break down the barriers to working that I had. I now feel more confident, I can ask for help without feeling like a failure, and overall, I just feel much happier with myself. It really helped me to start getting my life on track.

Ricky is now planning to save up enough money to eventually move into his own place and support himself. And he’d quite like to do some acting too.

Hayley’s YES Project journey to employment

Before joining the YES, Project Hayley (aged 22), spent her time sitting indoors. She barely had any interaction with anyone beside her immediate family and she felt her confidence decreasing by the day.

In January 2017, Hayley decided to join the YES Project in the hope it would help her to gain confidence and get a job.

She signed up to do YES Team’s 12-week programme ran by the Princes Trust. During her time on the programme she went on a residential, took part in team building activities such as abseiling and raft building, fundraised, did community work and presented her experience to an audience in the final presentation.

Hayley continued her YES Project journey in April 2017 by enrolling on the Get into Hospitals 4-week course where she gained work experience at Leicester Hospitals.

As Hayley’s confidence and self-belief grew she got involved with more YES Project opportunities, such as a company tour at Ford and Slater. She also became a member of the youth leadership group.

A year after starting her YES Project journey Hayley enrolled on Yes Media 9-week programme, which she describes as an amazing course even though she had minimal knowledge or interest in media. Hayley said of her experience:

“Not only is Yes Media amazing for meeting new people, building social skills and developing your own personal skills, but it is a brilliant way to incorporate structure and routine into your life. It increases your confidence and helps you work up the courage to step out of your comfort zone. I can truly say that Yes Media is 100% the way forward for any struggling, stuck or unconfident young person.”

In May 2018, all of Hayley’s hard work, commitment and preparation paid off. She was offered an Business Administrator apprenticeship after a successful application and interview process.

Hayley is now looking forward to the future where she plans to become more independent, save up to move out of her family home and build a career.

Summarising her YES Project journey, Hayley said:

“Honestly, looking back from how I was starting the first day of YES Team programme to now, I can hardly recognise myself. I am so much more active, sociable, finally have a job, confident in my own mind and I stick up for myself. The YES Project has helped me accept who I am as a person and strive to achieve more things in my life.”

Get in touch to start your YES Project journey today.

69 young people have now got jobs

69 young people that were the furthest from the job market last year are now all in employment thanks to the Youth Employability Support (YES) Project.

The YES Project provides specialist support to disadvantaged 15 -24-year olds to overcome barriers such as mental health problems, homelessness and substance abuse.

Launched just 18 months ago, the project has worked with over 250 disadvantaged young people from across the city and county and has exceeded its three-year target of getting 50 young people into work.

The success of the project is down to the intensive support provided to the young people accessing it. Each individual on the project has a bespoke support package tailored to their needs.

During their time on the project each young person accesses a variety of activities such as team building, creative courses, qualifications and work placements, all designed to equip them with the skills needed to get a job or move into further education.

Lee Miles, who left school with low levels of literacy and numeracy which badly affected his confidence, joined the YES Project last year. He is now working full time.

Lee praised the support he received;

“The Support I have had from the YES Project has been amazing. Getting a full time job after a long period of being unemployed is all down to the help I have received from them”

Simon Jenner, Executive Manager at Voluntary Action Leicestershire, the organisation managing the project commented:

“We are delighted for the 69 people that now have a job and another 38 people who have moved into further education.

With still another 18 months left of the project, there’s lots of time to support many more disadvantaged 15-24 year olds and get them into employment.

Our aim is to transform the futures of 400 local young people who are currently the furthest from being able to move into employment”

The £1.94m YES Project is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery, through the Big Lottery Fund and managed by Voluntary Action Leicestershire. It works in partnership with eight local organisations who deliver the activities to the young people.

These partners are The Prince’s Trust, Seed Creativity, Soft Touch Arts, TwentyTwenty, Leicestershire Cares, Bangladesh Youth and Cultural Shomiti, The
Bridge and Warwickshire College.

Andrew gains happiness through YES Project support

Before joining the YES Project, Andrew, aged 24, was unemployed and unhappy. He said,

“I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I was honestly a little bit depressed”

Feeling like he needed support and wanting to find new opportunities, Andrew found out about the YES Project through In Training.

By taking part in Get Into Retail, YES Media, and Soft Touch Arts, Andrew has gained skills and experience in a wide range of areas. These have included learning how to make short videos, taking part in art projects and gaining work experience. He also regularly meets with a mentor for guidance with job searches and applications.

In addition, Andrew has become a member of the Youth Leadership Group (YLG) for the YES Project. This has given him the opportunity to have his voice heard in shaping the project and provided him with leadership experience and a network of friends.

Andrew says,

“The YLG has helped me by keeping me busy and being part of a chain of situations that has since led to a paid part time job”

For Andrew, the Yes Project came along at the right time. He said,

“It’s made me feel a lot happier, made me feel determined and helped with my confidence. I think I’ve come a long way. I’m proud of the video CV I created with Seed and I have been working on a short film with Soft Touch Arts.”

Andrew’s newfound determination has shaped his future plans; he would like to get a full-time job and is applying to study Japanese at University. His dream job is to be a film director.

For any young person thinking of joining the YES Project, Andrew advises:

“Do it. It’s a great boost to get you closer to what you want to do. You will make new friends and most of all, it will make you happy.”

In December 2017 Andrew was a finalist in the YES Young Person of the Year Awards where 10 young people received awards for overcoming obstacles to work. Read more about the awards.

This article written by Siân Hewitt Youth Leadership Group

YES Young Person of the Year Awards 2017

At an event at Leicester Adult Education College the ten winners were celebrated as inspirations for other Leicestershire young people struggling to get into work or further education.

Lee Miles, was named winner of the YES Young Person the Year Award. Lee, from Beaumont Leys, was nominated by Seed Creativity after successfully completing media and employability programmes and securing a job.

When he left school, Lee had low levels of literacy and numeracy which badly affected his confidence but his self-belief blossomed on the YES programmes and during work experience at Seed Creativity. He applied for jobs and secured a flurry of job interviews and since October has been working at the Leicester trampoline park Flip Out.

Lee said:

“The support I have had from the YES Project has been amazing. Getting a full-time job after a long period of being unemployed is all down to the help I have received from them.”

Seed Creativity’s operations & training manager Chris Gray presented the award to Lee and said:

“Lee’s participation in a series of programmes of support have increased the key skills that have enabled him to make a transition into employment. I believe that Lee’s story is compelling evidence of how programmes, such as the YES project, can transform the lives of young people”.

The other nine winners are:

Kamaljit Singh, 18, was nominated by Leicestershire Cares. Kam, from Leicester, studied to get his Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, registered as self-employed and is now enjoying working as a labourer.

Aminah Salim Moosa, 22, was nominated by Bangladesh Youth & Cultural Shomiti. Aminah, from Leicester, returned to the UK after secondary education in South Africa and successfully passed her GCSE maths and English, joined Leicester College and aims to start a physiotherapy degree in 2018.

Andrew Plant, 24, was nominated by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire. Andrew, from Barwell, joined the YES Project’s Youth Leadership Group and is now volunteering on the YES Media course, supporting those young people who were in his position a year ago.

Charlie Dysono Baxter, 18, was nominated by TwentyTwenty. Charlie, from Barwell, began to fight for her education and jumped into what was being offered, achieving maths and ICT qualifications, doing work experience and has started an apprenticeship.

Holly Georg, 22, was nominated by Soft Touch Arts. Holly, from Leicester, has taken on everything that Soft Touch Arts’ programme has offered, from creative activities to mentoring and lots of group activities. She is always enthusiastic and keen to get involved.

Jack Johnson, 22, was nominated by YES Enterprise. Jack, from Broughton Astley, dreamt of starting a sports coaching business. He developed a business plan and piloted boccia sessions at Broughton Astley Parish Hall which have become financially self-sufficient.

Kyle Hurran, 23, was nominated by Warwickshire College. Kyle, from Leicester, has helped and supported his peers on the YES Project and is a trusted and reliable volunteer at the British Heart Foundation.

Luke Crowshaw, 18, was nominated by The Bridge. Luke, from Great Glen, volunteered with his village wildlife group, has completed courses and started more. With his confidence increasing, Luke is aiming to complete his maths and English qualifications and get a job.

Robert Simpson, 23, was nominated by the Prince’s Trust. Robert, from Loughborough, performed outstandingly on the Prince’s Trust programme, both in training and on work experience at Marks & Spencer which led to him being offered a job.

Dave Sharpe, YES Project Manager at Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, said:

“The young people receiving the awards have done amazingly well and we wanted to put on an event to acknowledge and celebrate their successes. There are currently 190 young people on the project receiving specialist support, and over 70 of them have now got a job or moved into further education. So, next year we will be celebrating again.”

Peter Boyne, Care Leavers Manager at Leicestershire Cares, said:

“The event was an inspiration to all the young people that attended. It was an amazing way to celebrate the successes of those involved and to encourage others to participate.”

More than 80 young people attended the event, designed for the winners’ stories to inspire them to also progress towards employment. They enjoyed T-shirt printing, playing boccia, live music and a prize draw.


Ben’s future is bright after receiving specialist support

The Bridge’s Intensive Young Person’s Support Worker Vickee Kainth, started to meet with Ben and his mum who would be present to support him.

Initially Ben would only reply to Vickee with one word. His confidence was extremely low and he would spend all of his time at home comparing himself to his educated brother. Vickee met regularly which helped Ben improve his confidence and she empowered him to take ownership of his support plan and identify his goals.

Through receiving support from The Bridge, Ben had an absence hearing to appeal his Personal Independence Payment (PIP) decision. Vickee supported him to submit all the evidence to the tribunal, this resulted in Ben being awarded PIP and he also received a backdated amount.
Ben was supported to attend the GP to obtain a gym pass and counselling to help improve his mental health and confidence. He also accessed one other delivery partner of The Yes Project, Soft Touch Arts, where Ben discovered that he liked to sing and he received support to produce his own music.

Ben and his mum also improved their communication through the support of mediation, which resulted in less arguments at home.

Ben went on to enrolling with a college to achieve his functional skills in Maths and English and he is now working towards achieving his GCSE’s. Upon leaving the Yes Project, Vickee referred Ben to the Social Inclusion Team at his college to ensure he is being provided support going forward.

The YES Project has supported me in so many ways…I can take part in a range of activities such as creating music, graffiti and other arts and it also helped me to get back into the gym. It has helped me get my confidence back.

Farzana felt supported throughout her journey to employment

She started applying for paid work but due to her lack of work experience she was not getting job interviews, so was looking for work experience opportunities.

Farzana was aware of the services offered at BYCS as it has been a community organisation for many years. She met with the YES Project Officer who suggested she carry out voluntary work to gain experience.

She completed 4 months’ voluntary work as a classroom assistant and says it helped improve her self-confidence and motivation.

Farzana, age 22, comments about BYSC and YES Project:

“BYCS helped me to undertake one to one job search. I found the advert for my job and the YES Project Advisor encouraged me to consider and apply for this role. I was given practical interview technique sessions to help me improve my skills. I felt reassured that someone was there for me throughout my journey to employment. “

Farzana now works as a Health Trainer.

About BYCS

Bangladeshi Youth & Cultural Shomiti (BYCS) is a community learning provider that will enable you to achieve qualifications and develop skills to progress on to futher education or work. It provides a learning environment that is culturally sensitive.

Learn more or contact ebrahim@bycs.org.uk