Students attending a PPE sustainability event.

Community empowerment hub smashes through career opportunity targets and expands own workforce too 

2 mins read

A community hub dedicated to providing life changing opportunities for young people in Stoke-on-Trent has not only exceeded all its first 12 month targets but is also paving the way for offering wider career opportunities in collaboration with other organisations. 

PPE – Positive People Empowerment – first opened the doors to its hub at Weston Road, Meir, on 30 June 2023, with the aim to support 30 local people with employment skills and training within their first 12 months. 

However, due to a growing team and support network, 40 people have so far received help in improving digital and social skills, and in gaining work placements and employment. 

The organisation has also expanded with the hiring of a project manager, two coordinators and a part time marketing executive, as well as hiring two interns in recent months. 

The Community Interest Company has collaborated with more than 25 businesses and charitable organisations, as well as working with The Spark Group, Black Business Society and Staffordshire Jobs and Careers, Job Centre, Innov8 Agency and social media marketing firm Narrative Social. 

“PPE is all about supporting young people on their own career journeys and unlocking doors in which they can learn from experts to become experts in their own field,” said Paul Smith, who is a co-founder of PPE. 

He added: “When we were successful with the National Lottery Community Fund in 2023, we had a target to support 30 people in our first year, and we have already surpassed that, which is testament to the team we have and also the relationships we have with other community groups and organisations such as the local authorities in the area, schools, colleges and universities. 

“To be able to collaborate on a wider scale allows for more opportunities for young people in Stoke-on-Trent – which is most important for the future – and we will continue to welcome more organisations to work with us to enable for more positive change.” 

Paul and Johnathan Smith with Staffordshire University’s Holly O’Rourke.

Johnathan Smith, Manager of PPE, added: “In the last 12 months we have formed great relationships with local businesses who have provided, not just 

work placements, but employment and have also given their time to be guest speakers at workshops – which has been great for the people we are supporting.” 

In recent months PPE has hosted sustainability workshops for schoolchildren and university students in partnership with The Spark Group and Climate Training following Awards For All funding. 

The workshops have taken place at Staffordshire University’s Catalyst Building, with a third session due to take place at the same venue in July. 

To continue with their commitment to providing wider opportunities for the community, with thanks to support from the Big Green Fund, PPE are set to work alongside CIC’s; The Spark Group and The Mondrem Group, as well as 

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Climate Training, to turn a disused piece of land near to their Meir hub, into a community garden in the coming months. 

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog