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Catch22 – TechUP Partnership: Developing Future Digital Skills Together

Gareth Moore speaking to one of the Click Start learners at the Celebration Event in Durham, 16 September 2023

by Gareth Moore, Partnership Manager at Catch22

Who Are Catch22? 

Catch22 are a not-for-profit business with a social mission rooted in the formation of the Philanthropic Society in 1788. Our vision is to support the development of a strong society, where everyone has opportunity to thrive with at least one of the following objectives: a purpose, a good place to live, and good people around them. To that end, we provide training and support to grow resilience and aspiration in people and their communities.  

Part of Catch22’s mission is to assist individuals (back) into work, particularly those who face barriers to employment or training. Catch22 are based within communities, delivering high quality, tailored employability services that equip people who have struggled to find opportunities through conventional routes.  

The Click Start Partnership 

Investing in future skills is part of Catch22’s manifesto. As the world changes and the employment market transforms alongside it, people already facing barriers to work may miss out on opportunities to acquire new competences and resilience – this in itself becoming another barrier. As the digital revolution continues, digital poverty means that accessing training pathways and securing a ‘good’ job can be hindered by a lack of available guidance, limited flexibility within the system, or simply through a lack of confidence.  

In 2023, Catch22 and Durham University came together to form a partnership to deliver Click Start by TechUPWomen – an entry-level programme that tackles the digital skills gap and prepares women to start a career in the tech sector. From the inspirational Welcome Event to the successful course completion by nearly 80% of the learners, something special has emerged. Two highly-skilled teams of dedicated staff shared one focus – to help others. This groundbreaking programme was delivered by tech industry specialists working alongside passionate, experienced employment coaches from Catch22.  

There has already been news of life-changing success stories from our Click Start graduates. 

While some learners initially felt apprehensive about applying for tech jobs, following workshops on interview preparation and CV writing this has changed for many. So far, positive employment outcomes for participants include: Executive Officer at DWP, Accounts Assistant with Resident 365, Audit Associate at BDO PLC, Communications Officer at Smart Works and an Ambassador with Institute of Coding. 

We know that life is full of challenges and barriers but there are equally real opportunities out there. Some are serendipitous and others must be discovered. Having organisations and staff working seamlessly and collaboratively together fosters new opportunities. With focused publicity and community outreach there is a real chance to engage with that untapped wealth of talent and make a real difference.  

Both organisations don’t just deliver a quality service, we care passionately about the people we work with. We are able to identify potential and have a fantastic team with the skills, energy, knowledge, and trust to nurture it. Every person, including those facing barriers to employment, have the chance to be successful – some just need a little support or encouragement to believe in it.  

The delivery of Click Start in 2023 has been an incredible success story already. We now look to 2024 with hope and anticipation! 

About the Author

Gareth is a TechUPWomen Partnership Manager with Catch22. He has been with Catch22 for 18 years and has manged a range of successful social projects including Youth Inclusion, National Citizen Service, and Tackling Loneliness with Transport. Gareth is an ex-Police officer and a qualified fitness instructor.

About Catch22

Catch22 designs and delivers services that build resilience and aspiration in people of all ages and within communities across the UK.