FareShare Midlands is building on its overall mission to fight hunger and tackle food waste, by creating opportunities through their employability programmes. With an ambition by 2024 to support​400 people into vocational training, placements or paid work, this year the charity has already shown impressive success across the schemes.

In Birmingham, the I-CAN employability programme in partnership with the PURE Employment Service (funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund) is a six-week programme of classroom and work experience to help individuals aged over 25 to develop the skills, knowledge and expertise they require to enter training and employment in the warehousing and logistics sector.

FareShare Midlands has established partnerships and Sector-based Work Academy Programmes with B2W (JLR forklift), Cadbury (FLT refresher) and Ocado (delivery driver). FareShare has supported 60 people so far; 30 have completed formal training and 15 have gone on to secure employment.

In Nottingham, FareShare Midlands is a delivery partner on the Nottingham Works 4 You project, which is coordinated by the Nottingham Jobs service and supports Nottingham city residents aged 16-24. Funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund, Nottingham Works 4 You enables FareShare Midlands to provide access to supervised, practical work experience offering World of Work learning. Together with tailored one-to-one employability support, this programme helps people aged 18-24 to find jobs and start successful careers. Since joining the project in April 2021, FareShare have enrolled 21 participants; 8 have successfully progressed into employment and 1 has moved onto college.

The PURE Project Manager, Tabriz Hussain, has been delighted with how this relationship with FareShare has formed and said “I couldn’t ask for a better partnership, FareShare has given our citizens a real opportunity that will improve their chances of securing employment in the near future. It is a perfect mix of theory and practical support, and is just what our citizens have been asking for. We are really excited about what the future holds for both organisations”.

Councillor Rebecca Langton, Portfolio Holder for Skills, Growth and Economic Development, Nottingham City Council said "Projects like Nottingham Works 4 You enable Nottingham City Council to extend employment and skills provision throughout the city. Since the start of the project in April 2021, and with the hard work and dedication of partners such as FareShare, we have been able to provide over 500 young people aged 16 to 24 with the advice and guidance they need to find appropriate training and employment. By providing one-to-one support and work experience in real-world environments, FareShare are playing a key role in helping us to achieve these outcomes, and ensuring that more young city residents leave the project with the confidence and skills they need to find rewarding, lifelong careers".

Nick Mahon, Retail Manager of Ocado Retail said “Ocado is delighted to partner with FareShare Midlands and the Department of Work and Pensions in offering a Sector-based Work Academy Programme designed to help people into employment at our Dordon Customer Fulfilment Centre. The partnership will allow candidates the opportunity to get real work experience with FareShare Midlands. Ocado have committed to offering all those that complete the programme an interview for one of our driving vacancies”.

Simone Connolly, Director of FareShare Midlands said “Most people recognise the charity FareShare as a food redistributor – a supplier of good surplus food to hundreds of community organisations. At the same time, we are also helping people to gain skills, experience and confidence, so that they can re-enter the job market or secure a job for the first time. Creating opportunities like this means that not only are we helping people in need to eat better, but we’re also providing support to lift individuals out of the cycle of poverty. Unemployment and poverty have such a devastating impact on the lives of vulnerable families and FareShare Midlands will continue to develop our employability programmes, so that we can help even more local people to improve their lives for the long-term”.

As the region’s largest food redistribution charity, FareShare Midlands delivers good quality surplus food to 550 frontline charities and reaches 60,000 vulnerable people every week. To build on this support to families and individuals suffering poverty, food inequality and the continuing impact of COVID19, the charity is embedding and growing its employability services throughout the Midlands.

People can find themselves unemployed for many reasons, and the ongoing disruption due to COVID19 has increased this. Unemployment frequently leads to financial hardship, debt, housing stress and family tension. It also has a negative effect on confidence, self-esteem and mental health.

FareShare Midlands’ growing employability schemes will target different age groups to offer a wide range of advice, support, comprehensive training and hand-on work experience, to enable participants to return to the workplace.