As a charity, the Colebridge Trust has always delivered work around employment & skills. Since 2002 they have been delivering employability programs to help participants to understand expectations within the workplace; support with writing job applications, and practice interview techniques. A key objective is to ensure that individuals are equipped with the tools which enable them to proactively seek out job opportunities and make their own applications in the future.
Colebridge Enterprises is a social enterprise that has been set-up by the trust, in order to support people with learning disabilities. A social enterprise is much like any other business, however, the profits are reinvested back into the cause or social purpose – in this case, employment, training, and inclusion. Indeed Colebridge has been on the Made in the Midlands Inclusivity training and their Chief Executive, Chet Parmar is an inclusivity ambassador.
Chet stated: "gone are the days when adults with learning disabilities are made to sit in communal rooms and watch TV or play board games. The people that come to our industrial unit are involved in the assembly of UK manufactured products. They put in a shift, are part of a diverse team and share in the satisfaction of producing a quality product". Chet went on to state how Colebridge was working with special schools in the area to provide much-needed work experience. In fact, two of the young people have been offered paid work to further progress their development.
In 2019, the trust sought the help of manufacturing consultant Steve Bramley. Steve had spent over 40 years in the industry with organizations such as JCB and Jaguar Land Rover. Steve said: “Colebridge initially approached me to help improve the industrial unit so that they could start to look at investing in its expansion. After spending a few weeks there, I was gobsmacked by what they were achieving for a small unit with limited resources. They had invested in ISO9001 and the place was operating with a very diverse range of people. After making my recommendations, Colebridge asked me to stay on, implement the improvements, and to develop the team – something I have not regretted”.
Over the years, Colebridge Enterprises has delivered traineeships, apprenticeships, work experience, and inclusion activities. This is set to continue as Colebridge has been notified that it will be a gateway provider on the KickStart scheme, therefore able to offer young people with direct work placement opportunities and can also work with local employers who also wish to offer similar opportunities.
Made Futures was created to encourage people to get jobs in manufacturing, in support of those who have lost their jobs over the course of the 2020 pandemic. There's still time to sign up and be part of the exhibition by filling in the form here.