Life Skills on MARS - graduation ceremony at Northampton Filmhouse, April 2019 | Instructus

Life Skills on MARS

This April we rolled out the red carpet for the graduates of the very first Moulton Apprenticeship Readiness Scheme – better known as MARS.

MARS marks our first full-scale project as an educational charity. With employer visits taking place alongside personal development sessions, the project prepares GCSE pupils for the working world in a way that schools can’t do alone. Launched in partnership with Moulton School & Science College, MARS provides a comprehensive primer on real work experience.

On the evening of the 24th we joined the first cohort of pupils at Northampton Filmhouse for a gala graduation ceremony. The event, held before an invite-only crowd of families and educators, was a pure celebration of what the pupils had achieved. As for why we held the event at a cinema? That’s simple – beyond the glamour of the venue, we also wanted to share the pupil’s successes on the biggest screen possible…

Unlocking Student Potential

For their final project the pupils opted to create video presentations about the course. Each group took a unique approach, from slide presentations to stop motion, and their exuberance and energy crackled on the screen. The end result was a kinetic trip through how their own life experiences have readied them for the world beyond school.

Afterwards the pupils took to the stage for their graduation, delivered by HM Lord Lieutenant for Northamptonshire, David Laing.

Speaking on the night Angie Dabbs, Deputy Head Teacher of Moulton School & Science College, said “good career guidance is critical if students are to raise their aspirations and capitalise on the opportunities available to them.”

“The academic curriculum only goes so far in preparing young people for the world beyond the classroom. We very much believe in the whole person, and in unlocking the potential of each student so that they can fulfil their dream. The MARS project, designed by Instructus, fitted that bill perfectly and so we jumped at the chance to be involved.”

“MARS has enabled our pupils to consider the gap between their GCSE subjects and what an employer might be looking for in a trainee or apprentice.”

While we’re excited about future programmes, it’s still sad to say goodbye. We wish these pupils every success in their GCSEs and beyond. Whatever happens next, they’ve enjoyed a layered learning experience that they wouldn’t have otherwise had.

As far as pilot programmes go, this makes the MARS launch an incredible success.

MARS is an educational project for Northamptonshire. If you’re a Northants-based employer or educator and would like to know more we’d love to talk to you.

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How Springboard Consultancy Helped Streetwise | Instructus

How Springboard Consultancy Helped Streetwise to Support Young Women

“I have learned a lot about myself and have enjoyed the programme.”

2018 saw the partnership between the Springboard Consultancy and Streetwise draw to a close. The project, as originally set out here, focused on delivering Springboard training to a group of young, vulnerable women in the North-East, helping to support Streetwise’s charitable focus on the physical and mental health of young people from the area.

The course was delivered between April and June 2018. Following a post-course catch up with the participants, we’re now able to share the impact of this project with you.

Working with Streetwise

“Encouraging and empowering to women in all areas of life.”

Instructus were keen to work with Streetwise due to their fantastic work supporting disadvantaged young people. Streetwise’s aims are very much in-line with our own charitable objectives, and when we started the discussion last year it became clear how we could work together.

With the involvement of licensed Springboard Consultancy trainer Sue Wild, we worked with Streetwise to identify a course that would benefit not only the young women in attendance but also the Streetwise team themselves. The aim of this course was to build their confidence and self-worth and to help change their circumstances for the future.

The Streetwise team identified the beneficiaries through a referral process. These young women accessed the project seeking support and advice on matters including confidence, self-esteem and anxiety. These women were at risk of becoming “invisible” in a busy cityscape, and the demands on them can be greater than they can manage.

The Results

“It’s applicable to people in a range of situations and circumstances.”

The project returned positive results, with some specific outcomes for participants including:

  • Securing a job following the first workshop day.
  • Realising self-worth and capacity and securing a job with more responsibility.
  • Finding a new workplace and being happier than in previous employment.
  • Deciding to follow dream and study Fashion at university.
  • Asking for a pay rise – and getting it!

The young women have realised their self-worth and are now determined to develop themselves, as shown through their positive feedback on the course.

“I have begun achieving my goals and objectives and continue to work towards them more. I now know it is okay to be proud of myself and my achievements.”

“This programme has been great, and I have experienced being around positive people. I now feel it is possible and worth meeting new people and finding friends.”

“I’ve learned that I have to be the one to make a change in my life and did so by leaving my job I was unhappy in to do better paid temporary work.”

“I have realised my values a lot more and they have become clearer. I have also managed to get a better job while taking part in this programme and I’m glad as I like my new job.”

Training for Everyone

The feedback given by the Streetwise team echoed the young women’s positive appraisal:

“Having experienced these kinds of activities and exercises for ourselves means we can relate in better ways to personal development. We now have more experience at working this way and know what it is like on the receiving end.”

“This will inform our skills in the future in how we work both in one to ones and in group work settings with young people.”

“The opportunity has deepened our tool kits as youth workers and has benefited each of us personally. I feel much more positive and forgiving for myself, I am more assertive and am much more aware of self-care.”

These results showed that all participants met the personal goals that they set at the start of the project.

The young women shared that they had:

  • Increased their confidence.
  • Changed their mindsets for the better.
  • Developed their assertiveness.
  • Reduced their social isolation and anxiety.

As well as the above many of the women have progressed in their careers, something we had set as a target at the start of the project.

Paving the Way for the Future

“The programme has allowed me to maintain my values whilst also focusing on new things that I’ve realised are important to me.”

Working with Streetwise was a fantastic step for our charitable outreach and paved the way for the work we’ve done since. The positive results that Sue Wild achieved with these women shows the importance of guided personal development; not only for those in a vulnerable position, but also for those that support them.

We have loved every second of working in partnership with Streetwise and would like to wish the participants all the best for the future. We have so much confidence in you!

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Getting Involved at Thorndale Care Home | Instructus

Instructus Gets Involved at the Thorndale Care Home

Following on from our recent training and development day activity, last month Instructus undertook a follow-up activity at Kettering’s Thorndale Care Home.

On Tuesday 24th July (and at the height of the heatwave), nine members of the Instructus team ventured to the Shaw Healthcare site in Kettering to sand and re-varnish garden furniture for the residents to use and enjoy over the remaining summer months.

The home, which provides 24-hour support, cares for up to 60 older people. Residents include the physically frail and those living with a diagnosis of dementia.

“As requested by the service, the volunteers from Instructus varnished and cleaned up our garden furniture which has had a big impact on the appearance of our home. We are very much delighted in your hard work and we are all very appreciative in the work that was carried out”, said Sharmaine Hall, Deputy Manager at Thorndale Care Home.

“All the staff in attendance were professional, polite and had good customer service skills. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and delicacy.”

Our latest local community project | Instructus

We are always looking for ways to contribute to our local community. If you have a project or activity that you would like us to volunteer for, please get in touch with us at

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Positive Results for Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse Course in Oxford | Instructus

Positive Results for Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse

In June our first course for victims of domestic abuse concluded with participants reporting encouragingly positive results. The course, which took place in Oxford, saw Instructus partner with Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse, a support service that develops and delivers services for those affected by domestic abuse in Oxfordshire.

Undertaken by Springboard Consultancy trainer Pat Miller, it is the first of our charitable projects to reach completion.

From the evaluation, 100% of the participants reported feeling more confident and that they had more control over their futures.

The Results in Full

In addition to the impressive results, participants were enthusiastic about the benefits of undertaking the course. Feedback included:

“I really enjoyed the programme. I gained a positive understanding of certain aspects that have taken place in my life. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I now have taken my past and allowed it to make a stronger version of me.”

“Overall it was an amazing experience, and I would highly recommend it for all age groups and backgrounds. Although I was the youngest of the group, I felt my opinions were still valued and that is important.”

“An amazing course that has enriched and enlivened me at such an important and significant time.”

With the Oxford programme we were also able to support Yellow Submarine, a charity that supports children and adults with learning disabilities and autism. They provided the catering for the programme which was co-staffed by adults with learning disabilities, providing them with employment and opportunities to learn and grow as individuals.

Find out more about the work of Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse ⇢

Instructus are continuing to develop a range of programmes for charities, community groups and businesses that could benefit from our support. Click here to learn more about what we do ⇢

“It’s about offering the same service and opportunities to all”
Yvonne Coolbear, Suffolk Constabulary

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Streetwise North | Instructus

Streetwise & Instructus to Deliver Woman’s Development Programme

We are working in partnership with Streetwise to deliver a Springboard Consultancy course to a group of young women in Newcastle.

Streetwise is a registered regional charity that works with vulnerable and disadvantaged young people from across the North-East. With a particular focus on hard to reach areas of the city of Newcastle, Streetwise exists to provide free, confidential advice and support services that empower young people to make informed choices.

Visit Streetwise ⇢

Many of the young people that use Streetwise are dealing with complex and multi-layered issues. In the last year, the charity has managed over 16,000 visits or contacts with over 7,000 young people. Streetwise have won local and national awards for their work, and have a strong reputation with parents, GPs, health workers, teachers and police.

We are working with trainer Sue Wild to run the Woman’s Development programme for a group of 12 women aged 18-25. These women have accessed the project seeking support and advice on confidence, self-esteem and anxiety. Being ‘invisible’ in a busy cityscape, these young women are finding that their own needs are not met, and the demands on them can be greater than they can manage. The Streetwise team will identify the delegates via referral, and ensure they are ready to take part in the programme. The delegates will be at a stage where they are emerging from one of the support services at Streetwise and ready to engage with the programme.

This programme allows Streetwise to offer a progression route for young women, helping them to become resilient adults. Without the funding and support of Instructus this programme would not be available. This pilot programme may result in a sustainable programme supporting the thousands of young people who seek their services.

Expected Outcomes

The experience of the Springboard programme will enable the young women to:

  • Positively change their circumstances
  • Increase their personal awareness, confidence and coping skills
  • Improve their self-esteem and their ability to consider new opportunities and make positive life choices

The youth workers experiencing the programme will also benefit:

  • Increased personal awareness, confidence and communication skills
  • Improved knowledge and increased toolkit for supporting young women in their personal development
  • Developed capacity as youth workers, benefitting the project and the young people they work with from disadvantaged areas of the city

Talk to us and find out how we can support your goals ⇢

“It’s about offering the same service and opportunities to all”
Yvonne Coolbear, Suffolk Constabulary

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Helping Karma Nirvana to Support Victims of Honour-Based Abuse & Forced Marriage

Instructus have partnered with Karma Nirvana and trainer Vanessa Boon to run the Springboard Consultancy Women’s Development programme for women affected by honour-based abuse and forced marriage.

Karma Nirvana is an award-winning charity that supports victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage. As well as operating a helpline for victims, which receives 700-800 calls a month, Karma Nirvana provide expert witnesses in court, give talks in schools and works to raise awareness.

The charity also plays an important lobbying role, and in 2014, after ten years of campaigning, helped to ensure that forced marriage became a criminal offence in the UK.

Visit Karma Nirvana ⇢

More than 11,000 cases of so-called ‘honour’ crime were recorded by UK police forces between 2010 and 2014. Yet many more cases go unreported.

An ‘honour’ killing takes place to erase the ‘dishonour’ of the family within the wider community. During 2010 and 2014 the UK media reported 11 attempted honour killings and 18 actual honour killings. Most victims were women. The ages of the victims in reported cases ranged from 16 to 56 years old.

In 2016, the UK Government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1,428 cases, up 14% on the previous year. The vast majority of cases involved victims who were women (1,145 cases, 80%) and under the age of 30.

Though overseas travel can be a factor, 157 (11%) of FMU cases had no overseas element, with the potential or actual forced marriage taking place entirely within the UK.

There are very few specialist services or support groups available in this field, with the services that do exist tending to respond at crisis point. This means there is a lack of preventative help or longer-term support for the victims.

The opportunity to take part in the Women’s Development programme could be life-changing for women affected by honour-based abuse and forced marriage.

The intended aims of the programme are:

Short Term

  • Improved positivity and self-belief
  • Observed increase in confidence and assertive communication

Long Term

  • Positive impact upon participants’ studies, training or career paths
  • Reduced risk factors in participants’ lives
  • Improved self-care, well being, determination, empowerment and clearer goals and aspirations
  • Improvement in self-esteem measures

Vanessa Boon added “I am looking forward to bringing Springboard to women supported by Karma Nirvana. This uplifting programme will give women the time and space to reflect, heal, re-discover themselves, grow and nurture each other and make new plans for their futures. This will also help survivors, who are often isolated and disowned by families, to build a support network of new friends around them and to build the futures they choose for themselves.”

“It will be a liberating, uplifting and heart-warming journey”

The first of four workshops will take place in 2018.

Talk to us and find out how we can support your goals ⇢

“It’s about offering the same service and opportunities to all”
Yvonne Coolbear, Suffolk Constabulary

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Instructus Working in Partnership to Provide Vital Training for Domestic Abuse Victims | Instructus

Instructus Working in Partnership to Provide Vital Training for Domestic Abuse Victims

Research indicates that 1 in 4 UK women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in their lives, with up to 80% of those returning to abusive relationships.

The rate of domestic violence cases is increasing year-on-year, showing a national need to support the underserved victims who would not otherwise receive the support they need to permanently break free from domestic abuse.

Instructus have partnered with Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse and trainer Pat Miller to provide a Springboard Consultancy course to victims of domestic abuse in Oxfordshire. Further partnerships working with Aspire Oxford and A2Dominion Housing Group provided a venue and further referrals for the course. With government funding cuts for services there are no other resources available to fund this type of empowerment programme.

Visit Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse ⇢
Visit Aspire Oxford ⇢
Visit a2dominion ⇢

Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse is a local support service that develops and delivers services for those affected by domestic abuse in Oxfordshire. They also provide training across the UK, with a nationally recognised multi-agency approach to tackling abuse and exploitation. It’s their aim to develop a coordinated approach to keeping people safe.

Additional courses are being supported by Instructus and planned in Milton Keynes (in partnership with MK-Act Domestic Abuse Intervention Services) and Kettering. In total, we expect to support over 30 women who have been victims of domestic abuse.

The intended aims of the workshops are:

  • Reduce the rate that women return to abusive relationship from 80%. Pat’s previous courses have reduced this to 11%.
  • Give delegates increased confidence, self-esteem and optimism for the future.
  • Create safe social groups for the delegates, providing extra support both during the course and beyond.

As this project is in progress the specific outcomes are not yet known. However, the workshops that have already been running have reported positive results in terms of improved confidence, community building and providing a supportive network.

The first course has now been completed – click here for the results ⇢

“It’s about offering the same service and opportunities to all”
Yvonne Coolbear, Suffolk Constabulary

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