GQA Qualifications, the awarding and qualifications-writing organisation is lending its support to a progressive and life-changing initiative for young people called ‘Nobody Left Behind’. The scheme combines community sports programmes with construction-related training and qualifications to improve young people’s employment prospects for entry-level construction industry roles.
Nobody Left Behind works with groups of young people who have predominantly been social care service users, and gives support to try and steer them away from dropping into gang culture.
Following a 4-week programme of community sports training with household name sports stars, students move on to work towards gaining GQA’s Level 1 Award in Construction Health and Safety and the GQA green general construction site Labourer’s CSCS card, as well as H&S-related training such as manual handling and traffic marshalling, all accredited through GQA. Civil Engineering Careers, the agency championing the work-related training then facilitates interviews with construction employers who look to offer employment opportunities to programme participants.
Commenting on its work with Nobody Left Behind and Civil Engineering Careers, GQA’s Technical Officer, Phil Douglas, says: “I noticed posts in my local area in Liverpool for community boxing camps, and having been involved in amateur boxing myself at schoolboy level, and also being a boxing fan, I started to find out more about this project. I reached out to and met with the initiative’s team, and it was clear that GQA would be a good fit for the learning element of the programme. We have rapidly built a good working relationship, and have supported the scheme in its development.
“I’m pleased to be working with the programme and its participants, helping them to benefit from GQA-accredited qualifications, CSCS cards and certificates. In addition, I’m happy to report that GQA and Building Our Skills – Making Fenestration, Glass and Glazing a Career of Choice have provided sponsorship support to help the programme get off the ground. We’ve donated towards a minibus that the initiative needs to help transport young people from further across the area, and we have been very pleased to be able to help in this small way. We have also been asked about development into other sectors in which we work.
“I understand that Nobody Left Behind has set itself the challenge of getting 1,000 young people into employment in the next four years, and that’s a goal we’re honoured to get fully behind. It’s a pleasure to see the sense of achievement on the faces of the young people when they are told they have passed their CSCS card test, and the joy in their voices when they tell their friends “I’m starting work on Monday.” The initiative is a perfect fit with GQA’s philosophy of people development.”
Barbara Travis, MD of CE Careers who heads up the initiative says: “I am so pleased to have established a relationship with GQA, who support the community initiatives and the education side through a range of accredited courses that help skill young people and give them the best chance of gaining employment.
“As we progress, we will be offering multi-sports including boxing, football, rugby, cycling and hiking. We are offering female-only sessions in boxing with the hope of encouraging more girls to look at construction as a potential career choice, and football camps for both boys and girls with ex Liverpool and England footballers. GQA are a key part of our growth, and a partner that we are immensely happy with as our awarding body.”
Nobody Left Behind is attracting the backing of senior politicians across the Merseyside region, and its aims are a perfect fit with the Liverpool City Region Growth Plan 2021-24. In addition, well-known sports people are using their platforms to raise awareness of how sport can play a key role in the motivation, training and support of young people trying to find their way to employment.
Detective Superintendent Siobhan Gainer, Head of the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership said: “The progression and employment rate through this initiative is way above the national average for courses such as this. I think its success is down to the fact that it has found such a popular way of engaging young people through sport, and that this has worked hand-in-glove with the opportunity to gain training and qualifications that demonstrably lead to work. Having an employer and a specialist in training has been crucial, and it has both raised the bar for other courses and profoundly changed the course of young peoples’ lives.”