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BCHA skills programme highlighted nationally

Bournemouth-based BCHA highlighted its ground-breaking skills programme New Directions during national Employability Day.

The fourth annual UK Employability Day adopted the theme: Closing the Gaps and around 7000 organisations staged events to showcase how they are closing employment gaps by supporting disadvantaged people to enter, sustain or progress in work.

BCHA has spent over 50 years helping thousands of vulnerable people to find homes and jobs and celebrated Employability Day at its New Leaf training allotment in Throop, Bournemouth.

New Directions consists of three stages of personal development through a variety of workshops conducted by BCHA’s Ignite team.

Participants take part in practical skills workshops and also receive input from local employers before working towards employment or progression routes to further education, followed by in-work support for the first three months.

New Directions is funded by JPMorgan Chase and is delivered by BCHA in partnership with Dorset Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster (Dorset EMC).

The aim of the programme is to introduce new employment opportunities, specifically focusing on growth employment sectors particularly engineering, manufacturing and production.

The programme also offers practical skills training with input from local employers, including staff volunteers from J.P. Morgan who help by providing interview techniques followed by 30-minute mock interviews at the company’s offices in Bournemouth.

New Directions has already helped 150 individuals develop skills and identify different ways into work or further education.

Greg O’Mallo Employability and Skills manager at BCHA, said: “People often join New Directions with their confidence and self-esteem at an all time low. But most people complete the programme having rebuilt that confidence and having developed the skills and determination to get back onto a more positive path.”

New Directions client Helen joined New Directions after being made redundant.

Helen said: “After losing my job my confidence hit rock bottom and I found myself questioning what I had done wrong all the time.

“I have been volunteering for a charity and New Directions has helped me build myself back up and discover skills I had forgotten I have.

“I have also just had a work trial at an electronics company and feel my most positive in years.”

Kevin Bonner is a trained print finisher from Scotland who lost his job after developing mental health problems.

He said: “I had worked all my life but suddenly I couldn’t be around other people. It was very frightening.

“New Directions has helped me a lot. Seven years ago when I first walked back into a classroom I was so overwhelmed I walked straight back out again.

“The set up and pace of New Directions offers routine and the chance to take small steps at a sensible pace. As well as learning new skills you meet and talk to other people. I have done some computing courses and am working positively towards my goal of returning to work.”

Greg O’Mallo added: “We are immensely proud to say that significant milestones and personal goals are being reached and exceeded every day by our New Directions clients.

Employability Day was an excellent chance for us to highlight the services we offer to our beneficiaries, local business and our stakeholders and to say a huge thank you to JP Morgan for its continued commitment and support.”

For more information about New Directions or to make a referral, please call on 01202 41063 or email


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