An external evaluation recently undertaken on the joint Clydesdale Community Initiatives (CCI) and Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP) Employability and Training Programme was exceptionally positive in relation to the difference it had made to people and places within the Clyde and Avon Valleys.
The programme received two year funding from the People and Communities Fund to deliver training in conservation and rural skills to individuals from a range of backgrounds and community groups and with a particular focus on delivering employability and skills training to people with barriers to employment and long term unemployed.
In total 151 participants worked on a wide range of projects across 23 CAVLP sites such as Nethan Gorge, Cleghorn Glen, Morgan Glen and Carbarns Highwood, making a significant contribution to environmental projects as diverse as pathways, tree plantations and cemetery walls. Working in partnership with almost all of the ten CAVLP partners the programme was shown to exceed almost all of the targets set for improving the local environment and empowering local people.
The participants were surveyed to assess their wellbeing and employment prospects before and after their involvement in the programme. The ‘before’ results demonstrated poor levels of confidence, mental health and employment prospects. In stark contrast, the ‘after’ results illustrated a significant increase in wellbeing across the board. Attitudes towards employment prospects dramatically increased with 24% rating these as ‘excellent’ after the programme and a further 33% as ‘good’. It was also noted that those who had already completed the programme and moved on still rated their improvements very positively, indicating that the positive changes in their lives have continued.
In terms of specific benefits, a significant 83% said they had gained practical skills, 66% said the programme had got them out of the house and improved their mental health thereby meeting their reasons for signing up in the first place. In addition, 60% felt their physical health had improved and 54% felt that their employment chances had also improved.
Looking at the employability impact of the programme, the survey revealed that 54% of participants are now involved in other volunteering, 42% have entered further education and training and 25% have entered employment. All respondents rated the overall programme as “excellent” or “good”.
Specific quotes from participants include:
It is hoped that the programme will continue for a further two years dependant on funding. If you are interested in training or volunteering opportunities, finding out more about the organisations.
Clydesdale Community Initiatives was initially set-up in 2002 to enable young people at risk and adults with mental health issues to develop a derelict site in Lanark, South Lanarkshire. This project was so successful, with both groups gaining exceptional skills and confidence from their involvement, that it was decided they would undertake further projects.