The Getting Ready for Employment and Training (GREAT) Project is a Leicester-based project, designed to help individuals who are part of families and not currently working, move towards employment or training. Through a variety of sessions delivered by partners and Employment Coordinators, participants are given personalised support to overcome any barriers they face. The project is launching their ‘Behind Every GREAT Man…’ campaign in a bid to sign up more men.
The ‘Behind Every GREAT Man…’ campaign is an extension of the GREAT Project’s ‘GREAT men get things done’ initiative. The campaign is geared towards all men that are part of a family and asks the question ‘what does employment mean to you?’ By asking this question, the project hopes to start a conversation that encourages individuals to identify why they want to find work, and inspire them to join the project. The campaign promotes inclusivity, showing the diversity of the participants with whom the project works and addressing their individual needs.
Previously, one third of all participants were male, but with the number of male sign-ups declining, the number of men on the project now only accounts for one quarter of all participants. The project is keen to engage with more males, understand what has prevented them from previously seeking support, and encourage those who are facing barriers to work to contact them.
To date, the GREAT Project has received a total of 1,308 referrals; only 348 of those have been male. Out of this number, 123 males signed up to the project and 38 of these completed the project with an outcome; either work, further training or job search.
There are two key messages the GREAT Project wants individuals to take away from this campaign. First, the project wants to encourage participants to believe in themselves and their own abilities to overcome the barriers they face. Secondly, in a bid to combat the stigma around asking for help, the project’s philosophy is ‘doing it yourself doesn’t mean doing it alone’. One of their key objectives for this campaign is to let people know that it’s okay to ask for help.
Vandna Gohil, Executive Project Manager for the GREAT Project, said:
“We know men tend to shy away from accessing support that’s available to them for many reasons. Quite often it’s because they don’t want to admit there’s a problem, or they feel they will face judgement or stigma because they asked for help.
We want individuals to know that this isn’t the case and that help is out there. We’re here to offer support and guidance to help them become the person they want to be.”
Simon Gambardella (pictured) had ongoing health issues and became unemployed as a result of this. He began to suffer from depression and anxiety, which led his GP to inform him of the GREAT Project. Simon decided to self-refer, and his attendance and commitment to the project was exceptional. He accessed a variety of courses and sessions whilst on the project, and it helped him overcome his barriers. Simon also found that he was not alone, with many other people facing similar barriers to him. Through the GREAT Project, Simon found a full time role that he enjoys and feels he can excel in.
The project takes both self-referrals and organisational referrals, and encourages those that have barriers to work and need support to contact them. Individuals can self-refer by texting GREAT and their name to 66777 or by calling 0116 257 5020. Organisations are free to contact the project by calling the same number. For more information, please visit: www.greatproject.org.uk.
The GREAT Project is a partnership of multiple organisations and is delivered by Voluntary Action LeicesterShire, a charity dedicated to helping change lives for the better in local communities. The GREAT Project is funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.