The ESF London Youth Programme is designed to help 18-24 year-olds who are not in education, employment or training overcome the issues or barriers preventing them from getting into education or employment.
Chloe, 18, started the programme in June 2016 after meeting her now job coach in Greenwich, and has since gone on to open her new dog walking and animal-minding business late last year.
“I joined the Pinnacle People programme last year and my job coach, Ruth, has been amazing,” she said.
“While the business had been an idea of mine for a few years, Ruth helped me get completely set up and get all the paperwork sorted – I was completely clueless up until this point.”
“At the beginning, I had a lot of people around me doubted whether or not it would work, and that I should really just go and get a ‘real’ job. Without Ruth’s encouragement to continue to pursue the idea, there is no way I would be where I am today,” she said.
Chloe, who now works around 50 hours per week to manage more than 13 regular clients, said the scheme was different to other employment programmes as it offered a personal – and more sustainable – approach to securing work.
“This programme is different to anything else on offer as it is completely tailored depending on each person – because everyone is different,” she said.
“Pinnacle People really push you to do what you want to do, or have an interest in, rather than just get you a job anywhere – they encourage you to do what you love, which is the real difference.”
Chloe’s vision for the business, which is based in and around Greenwich, Blackheath and Eltham, is to continue to grow and secure new clients, while still maintaining full control.
“I want to turn the business into a proper company but I don’t want to lose control – I am happy with where I am at the moment as, generally, I am doing really well and making a profit,” she said.
“I like the idea that I can say this is mine – this is what I do and I’m proud of that. I’m in control of my time and my own business… how many other 18 year-olds can say they have done that?”
Pinnacle People deliver the ESF London Youth Programme on behalf of Catch22 throughout the London boroughs of Greenwich, Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith and Fulham, Bexley and Croydon.
The free service includes one-to-one diagnostic interviews to assess each individual’s situation, tailored support to access qualifications, courses, work experience and jobs.