Arsenal in the Community won a special award in recognition of its Employability Programme at the European Club Association’s annual general assembly on Monday night.
The award for Best Community and Social Responsibility Programme 2015 was presented to chief executive Ivan Gazidis in recognition of the unique project, set up in 2011 as a direct response to the growing levels of youth unemployment.
Responding to this important local and national need, the club employed a full-time employment officer to lead a programme which enabled Arsenal in the Community to manage and deliver bespoke accredited work skills qualifications developed through leading awarding body, Pearson. The modules were designed to meet the needs of participants who often have no or few qualifications and to prepare them for the world of work.
The programme delivers either eight or 12-week employability courses resulting in an accredited work skills qualification and, where required, additional literacy and numeracy skills qualifications to ensure participants have the basic skills required to enter the job market.
Since 2011, more than 300 people have gained jobs as a direct result of Arsenal in the Community Employment Programme. Dedicated courses have been delivered to wider social inclusion projects, which include people suffering with mental health conditions, torture survivors, those in the local authority’s care system, those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction and a number of participants from our local housing estates football projects.
Many have successfully completed the work skills course and gained employment, while relationships have also been developed with a range of employers that offer real job opportunities. Participants are supported throughout the recruitment process and for a period while in work, too.
Alan Sefton, head of Arsenal in the Community, said: “The passion and support that our staff have offered participants has played a key role in preparing young people for work and motivating them to stay in work. The project plays a significant role in one of our local community’s priority aims and, most importantly, it is having a vital impact on the lives of young people and their families.”
Marc-André Buchwalder, of the ECA, added: “The Arsenal Employability Programme perfectly illustrates the force for good that clubs can have in their local communities. The tailor-made approach, the continuous support throughout the recruitment process, the special relationships developed with a range of employers and the tangible job outcomes make this a great example of an employability project that directly impacts the lives of the participants and their families.
"With more than 300 people gaining employment as a direct result of the project, the Arsenal Employability Programme has proved very successful and I can only invite other clubs to get inspired by this successful CSR model."
The award comes as the European Commission marks the European Week of Sport, which promotes sport and physical activity across Europe. It will generate new activities and build on already existing successful initiatives in the European, national, regional or local context. This European-wide campaign will inspire people to #BeActive during the week and encourage them to stay active all-year long.
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