On Wednesday 13th October Liverpool Youth Hub Thrive hosted its first-ever large-scale event for young people and employers from across Liverpool City Region. The event took place at PINS Social Club on Duke Street – Liverpool’s number one hang-out for young adults, featuring a modern bar, restaurant and bowling alley.
Over the past year Thrive has discovered ways in which it can connect young people to employers outside of formal recruitment processes such as interviews or jobs fairs, which can often be overwhelming and nerve-wracking, especially if a young person is taking their first step into the world of work. Instead, it connected young people and employers over video calls which took place in peoples living rooms as a result of lockdown. Young people could tune in of their own accord and listen to an employer talk about a specific industry of work and the career paths available, offering real insight into the world of work. The sessions presented young people with a real opportunity to be themselves and ask questions about careers, without the need for a formal conversation. Realising that these informal social situations which were not driven by job outcomes could offer so much inspiration and positive impact to the young people attending, Thrive was determined to create an event that reflected this new movement.
With its feet in the shoes of young people Thrive came up with its first event idea FUSE, the name deriving from its meaning; to join things together physically. The concept was a networking event with a twist, where young people would have the opportunity to connect with Liverpool City Region’s best employers in a relaxed, fun environment.
Planning the Event
In May 2021 Thrive met with PINS Social Club to discuss the potential of hiring out Rocco’s Game Room which comprises a range of activities including bowling and ping-pong, the perfect venue where socialising makes a fun experience. Blown away by the FUSE concept, PINS kindly gifted Thrive with the area and activities free of charge. The process of transforming FUSE from an idea into a plan was made easy thanks to the generous support received by others including Thrive’s sister company Rise Construction Framework, partner The Learning Foundry and local organisations Hi-Impact Media and USP Creative all of whom sponsored the costs and media coverage of the event.
Once plans were in place, Thrive contacted 40 employers who come from many different industries of work. Listening to its young people, Thrive made sure that it invited employers that could give great insight into the careers that young people were most interested in. Organisations including The British Armed Forces, StayCity Group and Merseyside Police are examples of the brilliant organisations that came down to offer their support. A further 60 invites were sent out to young people, distributed out to youth support/employment organisations: The Learning Foundry, Merseyside Fire Rescue Service, Princes Trust, Bedspace, Strawberry Fields and JobCentre Plus.
Bowling lanes open, games set up and teams in place, the event was ready to begin!
The event opened with the arrival of employers who networked amongst themselves over a cuppa. Employer Relationship Manager Hannah kickstarted the afternoon by introducing Thrive, its purpose and the running of the event, whilst thanking the employers for their support. After a heartfelt round of applause, the room opened up for the arrival of young people and their support workers/team leaders. A panel of four renowned employers joined the main stage to deliver an inspirational careers talk, Phil Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Danny Co-Founder of PINS Social Club, Steph Executive Director for The Regenda Group and Simon Global Director of Music at Sentric Music gave a brief overview of their career journeys and the opportunities available in their industries of work.
The room then broke out into a variety of activities where young people and employers mingled. Smiles and conversation filled the air, it was incredible to see social barriers being removed over ping-pong tables and bowling alleys. Confidence was being built right before employers eyes and young people were able to delve deep into conversations with employers, discussing careers and other personal topics that mattered most to them. A delicious buffet was provided by Rocco’s Deli & Diner consisting of pizza, mac n cheese and more. Local employer Laing O’Rourke kindly donated drones which were given out to young people as part of a free raffle. As the event drew to a close the team thanked everyone for attending, gifting out mugs and an invitation to visit Thrive for a free fill-up of hot choc!
Opportunities For Young People
Several opportunities for young people arose from FUSE. Thrive is pleased to confirm that 6 jobs, 1 traineeship, 1 kickstart, 1 apprenticeship and 1 mentoring programme were offered to young people by employers as a result of this event.
Saul is just one example of an enthusiastic young person who attended FUSE after hearing about it from his local jobcentre. Saul had a passion for cooking and admired the work of Thrive Ambassador Paul Askew. Saul had even said that he was planning on writing a letter to Paul, expressing his admiration for his work. Three weeks after the event Saul was offered an apprenticeship at The Arts School Restaurant by Paul, who was keen to take him under his wing.
“The event opened an opportunity that I never would have got otherwise”.– Saul.
Thrive has been overwhelmed with the amount of positive feedback received from the event, some of which is shared below.
“After working for years in this sector I can honestly say I have never experienced anything like this event today. Providing a relaxed networking event for young people and businesses to talk and discuss options breaks down so many barriers that occur with more formalised scenes like mock interviews. I have witnessed businesses and young people talking, having fun and even discussing job opportunities. Well, done to all involved”.– Dionne, Hi-Impact Media.
“Really enjoyable event and happy I came along. People that are here are really enthusiastic and better options and more steps forward”.– Tom, The Learning Foundry.
“This was an enjoyable, relaxed event. The organisation made it easy to engage with young people and stopped the young person from feeling overwhelmed.”– Anthony, Unit 3 Design Studio.
“I thought this afternoon’s Thrive event was Superb because it provided Maher with the opportunity to meet employers in a friendly, fun and chilled environment”.– Paul, Liverpool Leaving Care Team.
“Really good event with networking in a different way which is fun. Opened my eyes with job opportunities”.– Cameron, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service Princes Trust.
Thrive is excited to announce that it is planning on hosting numerous FUSE events, with the next one lined up for Spring 2022.