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Published 8 June 2022 at 2:39pm

Helping local people in South Yorkshire to get back into and remain in work is crucial to our region’s recovery from the pandemic, as set out in our Renewal Action Plan.  Since powers were devolved to local leaders in South Yorkshire, the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) is investing around £42m in adult education and skills development this year.  

The Adult Education Budget is expected to help transform our region and the lives of our residents by better responding to the needs of local communities and supporting those who need it to move into work.  It will also help to upskill the workforce and provide progression pathways, enabling local people to gain the skills they need to advance into higher technical and vocational education within South Yorkshire.
Last Autumn, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority selected the providers who would be delivering adult skills provision across South Yorkshire.  One of these providers is Endorphins Group, which offers a wide range of transformational programmes for adults and children, that empower people to reach their full potential.

Three candidates from across South Yorkshire have agreed to share their experience of the Endorphins’ Empower programme, funded by the Adult Education Budget in South Yorkshire. Here we learn more about Aimee, Mohammed and Nazam.

When she started the course, Aime from Barnsley was suffering with anxiety and she was worrying incessantly about minor things.  Small problems felt huge and unmanageable as Aimee explains: “When a problem arose, it used to get to me really worried, so I often dealt with a situation in the wrong way.”

Through the intensive four-week Empower programme, Aime was supported to change, create action and progress towards her intended goal.

Aime felt that the course had a huge impact, she explains; “The Empower course has given me the tools to deal with situations in a better way, through breathing techniques, counting to ten and taking time to think before I write down or speak. It has given me more reasons to feel confident and to be proud of myself and to help me to share my experiences with a group of people.”

She adds: “I have learnt that I have more skills and abilities than I realised. I am capable in a lot of areas which means that I get involved and am able to learn new things every day. The course has given me more confidence in myself in many ways, realising that life is only hard because we make it difficult.  I have learnt to ask for help when struggling with any situation.”

Kirsty, Adult Education Manager at Endorphins, said; “Amie started off very nervous on the course but quickly became more visibly confident, as well as showing a keen interest in helping others. During the course she started to see beyond her limitations and approached any barriers with a different perspective.” 

“It was a pleasure to see her confidence grow. Since completing the course Aime has gone on to help others by volunteering at another one of our Empower course cohorts in Barnsley. This is a great way to further build her confidence and experience.”

Mohammed from Rotherham was out of work and had been on long term sick, whilst experiencing anxiety, stress and depression.  He attended the four week Empower course in January 2022 as he wanted to get back into full time work and to become more resilient.  When he started the course, he had very little knowledge of mindfulness techniques, which he learned would help him to relax and to be able to cope better with the challenges of everyday life.

Empower Tutor Sam explains: “Mohammed really did take the mindfulness techniques on board and has benefited significantly as a result.” 

Through the course, Mohammed was encouraged to apply for a non-executive board member position for a charity and he was successful.   

Sam explains: “Mohammed has recently started his non-exec board member role and this is giving him focus and new goals in life. He has also found the mindfulness techniques have helped him during a recent family bereavement, so has been able to bring these skills into helping with difficult emotional life experiences, as well as helping him back to work.”

Mohammed said: “The course was really useful in teaching me about mindfulness and ways to cope in difficult times.  I am feeling more optimistic now I have secured the position at the charity and this is because of the skills I learned on the Empower course.”

Nazam, from Rotherham, embarked on the Empower course as he felt he needed to focus more clearly on what he wanted to do in the future.   Nazam explains: “At the time, my life was quite stressful. I felt I was stuck in an employment programme that was making me very unhappy. I was having headaches and couldn’t sleep very well because I was dwelling on the situation.”

He has also benefited from learning mindfulness techniques.

Nazam said: “The course was so useful as I learned how to change my mindset from negative to positive. The mindfulness techniques made me feel calm and refreshed. I also enjoyed meeting other people on the course and I gained a lot of confidence and met a new friend. I realised through some of the activities my strengths and abilities and I felt like it boosted my confidence. 

“The job market information that I learnt was really interesting. The course has helped me to make my own choices and to reflect on what I want for my own future. The meditation gives me a clear head and helps me to think and reflect better. The support from my tutor helped me to open up and to speak more about how I was feeling.”

Now he has completed the course, Nazam is working on his interview skills, and is looking to progress in his voluntary position and to find work in clothing or retail.  He has also taken up a new hobby of going to the gym.

Sam - Empower Tutor said; “Nazam came to our course looking to find direction in his life, gain focus as well increase his confidence. He embraced the mindfulness techniques and learned how this could move him towards making some positive changes in his life. He put a lot of time, effort and energy into this new way of thinking and has made new friends who he remains close to even after completion of the course. His confidence and trust have improved immensely, and he is now better able to make his own choices and focus on his future goals. He has experienced a real shift in mindset and is in a much more proactive and positive headspace.”

Nazam says: “After completing the course, I feel much more confident and better within myself.  I feel much more positive, am being more proactive and know how to calm myself if I get stressed. My voluntary work has gone so well that I am now ready to get into paid work and am more confident about approaching employers.”

For more details about how you could get back into work or stay in work, or learn new skills, find out more about the Adult Education Budget.

For more details of the Empower course from Endorphins, visit the website or email


Last Updated: 08/06/2022

Published In: Skills and Employment, Featured


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