achieving change through enterprising solutions

What is Defining Futures?

Supported by a grant from the Virgin Money Foundation, Actes is developing and delivering Defining Futures; a level 2 One Award accredited employability qualification. The qualification will include personal skills development, such as communication, team work and problem solving; the use of social media to build a personal brand, and will also develop an understanding of what it means to be enterprising including exploration of the self-employment as an alternative to paid employment.

Who can it help?

Defining Futures is aimed at long term unemployed young people in Middlesbrough that would benefit from in-depth support in exploring their strengths and preparing to enter the world of work.

What types of support are available?

Delivered flexibly from a number of venues across Middlesbrough the course will

  • develop practical employability skills such as preparing and tailoring CVs, job search techniques and interview preparation;
  • enhance personal skills such as communication, resilience,  team work and problem solving,
  • support the use of social media to build and promote a personal brand; and,
  • share an understanding of what it means to be enterprising and explore self-employment.

Young people will be encouraged to provide feedback on delivery style, training content and venue facilities to ensure that the course is tailored to their needs.

How do I get in touch with Defining Futures?

Defining Futures will be delivered in Middlesbrough until March 2018. For more information about the course please contact Abigail Fields on 01642 856 044 or email




What is New Directions?

New Directions is a £7 million project which is being delivered by Actes in a unique partnership with Thirteen Group, Coast & Country Housing, North Star Housing and New College Durham to support people aged 15 – 29 who are Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) to access specialist support to help them into education or employment and to move forward with their lives.

Who can it help?

The project provides support to young people aged 15 – 29 with a wide range of support services such as: information advice and guidance including housing advice, training, mentoring, apprenticeships, job placements and further education to help young people secure education, training or employment.

What types of support are available?

In addition to the support above, the project will also include a flexible fund to assist young people in overcoming barriers to progression. Typical purchases are likely to include travel fares and / or childcare costs to access support, essential interview clothing, work clothing and essential documents such as Birth Certificates, NI Numbers and DBS checks.

How do I get in touch with New Directions?

New Directions is delivered until the 31st of July 2018. You can contact the project on 07801 897 863 or email 

Visit the Facebook page at:

New Directions
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What is Market Yourself?

Market Yourself programme is an employability course which aims to equip our clients with key skills to give them the confidence to promote themselves to potential employers and new job opportunities.

Who can it help?

The project offers practical advice and support to people aged 25 and over who have been unemployed for a period of 6 months or more. The course carries an NOCN level 1 accreditation.

What types of support are available?

Market Yourself offers a wide range of practical advice to guide clients through the full job application process and from preparing a CV and covering letter to exploring new opportunities to help clients expand their work history and equipping them with skills to help them to maintain a resilient and positive approach to applying for jobs. ‚ÄčThe project introduces support programmes such as Wage Incentive and Work Experience to potential employers to encourage them to create employment opportunities. Practical advice provided by the course includes preparing for interview including mock interviews, confidence building, dressing appropriately, communication skills and typical interview questions. Clients are shown how to set up an email account for job applications and how to use Universal Job Match. Practical advice is given as to how to approach on-line applications and create a digital identity including how to upload a CV and covering letter to a job website. Support is provided on how to  reasearch skills and techniques, how and where to look for jobs and to target specific sectors that may suit transferable skills alongside valuable websites to enable clients to help themselves and how to research potential employers. Course instructors ensure that clients understand their responsibility in marketing themselves for employment and provide them with a portfolio on completion of their training which highlights and potential gaps Jobcentre Plus Advisors may want to review.

How do I get in touch with Market Yourself?

For further information please contact Actes on 01642 856 030 or email 

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What is Free Your Potential?

Free Your Potential is an engaging and interactive training course focusing on increasing self-belief and emotional resilience. The award winning course encourages people to work individually and in groups to identify their strengths, set goals and learn how to make changes in their lives that will give them the confidence to move forward and to cope with setbacks along their chosen path. Delivered over 9 guided learning hours (3 x 3 hours) the courses are enjoyable and involve lots of activities that have been co-designed by previous participants. The course has positive psychology at its core and uses the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale to measure the participant’s emotional wellbeing and the impact of the training. Free Your Potential is accredited by the Open College Network.

Overall it concentrates on personal strengths and positives, not weaknesses or problems to help people build self-belief, think positively, and develop emotional resilience so if and when things go wrong, you can bounce back and move on. It aims to open people’s eyes to opportunity and give them the confidence to make the most of life. 

Who can it help?

People in Middlesbrough who need to overcome personal and social barriers to help them move forward with their lives. The course identifes and builds upon individuals’ strengths, and helps people to understand and use a range of tools to help them set goals and achieve them.

By the end of the course participants’ will have taken part in team building activities and benefitted from peer support to improve their self-esteem and emotional resilience. They will know their own strengths, have goals in one or more areas of their lives, and be more likely to stay involved in other courses to support and achieve their goals

What types of support are available?

Training will be delivered in small groups by a qualitied tutor.

Delivered over 9 guided learning hours (3 x 3 hours) the courses are enjoyable and involve lots of activities that have been co-designed by previous participants.

Free Your Potential is accredited by the Open College Network to ensure that participants are accredited for their learning

How do I get in touch with Free Your Potential?

For more information on the programme, please contact Abigail Fields or contact Abigail on 01642 856044.

Free Your Potential

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What were the Work Clubs?

The Work Clubs provided information, advice and guidance to residents of Middlesbrough looking for employment to help them move closer to or into work. They were funded by Actes as part of our charitable objectives.

When did the Work Clubs operate?

Funding was initially approved by the Actes board in 2012 and ran until March 2017. In 2014/15 the Work Clubs were partly funded by Middlesbrough Community Learning from their Community Learning Fund.

Who was involved in the Work Clubs?

To deliver the Work Clubs service Actes worked in partnership with Middlesbrough Council who provide access to venues and Job Centre Plus who provide small amounts of funding for laptops and promotional materials.

What practical support did the Work Clubs provide?

The Work Clubs provided support in job journey planning and job searching techniques including CV development, interview skills and mock interviews, setting up e-mails and Universal Job Match access. Through the Work Clubs clients were also signposted to other job opportunities, such as volunteering. The Work Clubs also provided support with soft skills like social skills and self-confidence which can act as a barrier to employment and volunteering.

The work clubs operated five days a week at various venues across the town with mornings free for clients to ‘drop in’ with the afternoons for individual one-to-one appointments.

What was the impact of the Work Clubs?

Between April 2014 and February 2017 the Work Clubs were responsible for 11,709 client contacts.  In 2015-16 alone 421 individuals were given support to develop their CVs, and in its last two years 31.03% of Work Club clients received support with training, while many were given access to volunteering opportunities which provided valuable work experience. Aside from providing Information, Advice and Guidance, the Work Clubs provided a supportive and sociable environment to Middlesbrough residents, many of whom were among the furthest away from the job market.