Orbit invests £50k to build solid foundations for the future

Orbit – one of the UK’s leading affordable housing providers – has invested £50,000 in ToolShed, a social enterprise created by New Meaning and based in Buckinghamshire, which helps provide opportunities for young people who are currently not in employment or in the education system.

The investment builds upon the current partnership between Orbit and ToolShed, which has seen the training organisation provide work placements with Orbit for young people in Stratford-upon-Avon.

The ToolShed training programmes are designed for any 16 to 19-year-old who has not previously been in employment, higher education or training, with the scheme extended to 24-year-olds for those with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHC Plan). In the last four years, ToolShed has supported more than 200 young people in the Home Counties region, and the social enterprise is now looking to extend its model into Warwickshire.

ToolShed’s approach is to help young people learn valuable skills which will support them throughout their life; it aims to guide them through their learning, and to support them in gaining an income. Starting in September, ToolShed students take part in core academic sessions covering Maths, English and ICT, whilst completing a 39-week work placement programme to give them on-the-job training.

Sam Scharf, Director of Community Investment at Orbit, commented: “All too often young people who are not in education are overlooked for mainstream training opportunities. Our hope with the ToolShed project is that this will go some way to addressing that. Building thriving communities means creating opportunities that are inclusive in order to address the wider issues facing people today and to help create solid foundations for the future.”

David Lett, ToolShed Co-Founder and Operations Director, added: “We are delighted that Orbit has committed its support to help to create opportunities for younger generations. We run a very successful model which gives young people the chance to get some real hands-on experience while also gaining qualifications in the core subjects of English and Maths. Our goal is that each person leaves ToolShed with the valuable skills and confidence to earn their own living throughout their lives.”