What is Future Bright?
If you’re already in paid work and claiming benefits or tax credits to top up your income, Future Bright can help you develop your skills, increase your income and progress in your career.
Future Bright is a free and confidential service, built around you. Our career progression coaches work with you to support you to reach your career goals through emotional and practical help. This can include funding if we agree it’s what you need to reach your goal.
The service offers:
- Support: 3-6 month programme of support to increase confidence
- Advice: practical help to overcome barriers and take control of work and pay
- Skills: training and development tailored to your needs
- Personal Budget: funding for training or career development costs
as well as a dedicated career progression coach who can:
- help you form an action plan and support you through each step
- signpost and advise you on training and career pathways
We can also offer some financial support towards any training or other work related costs.
All conversations are confidential, can be accessed remotely and focus on what you want to achieve. Your coach will help you take your next step. Participation is always free and fits around your current commitments.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) and additional support available
The Future Bright team would like to reassure you that, despite these uncertain times, the project will continue to run and offer support throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Future Bright career progression coaches are able to support those who are currently in paid work but on top-up benefits, to progress their career and help remove any barriers to doing so. Support can be provided remotely by telephone, Skype, email and text messaging.
Future Bright is open to local residents who are:
- aged 19 or over and living in the West of England – Bristol, South Gloucestershire or Bath and North East Somerset
- currently in paid work (part-time, full-time, temp, self-employed or zero hours)
and receiving any of the following in-work beneﬁts or tax credits:
- Universal Credit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit
- Job Seeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Employment Support Allowance
- housing benefit or means-tested council tax reduction
During the current coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis, Future Bright can additionally support eligible local residents who are:
- affected by a change in circumstances caused by the Covid-19 outbreak meaning they are currently receiving, or likely to start receiving Universal Credit
- made redundant or who have been laid off as a result of the coronavirus crisis, or who are currently at risk of redundancy
- on a reduced income due to significantly reduced working hours as a result of the coronavirus crisis
- working as self-employed, whose incomes or ability to earn has been severely impacted by coronavirus
We can also help furloughed employees, if their reduced income means they are eligible for Universal Credit.
If you are unsure about whether you are eligible for our support, call us to check and for advice on other services that may be able to support you.
Read the stories below about others who have benefited from the help and support of the Future Bright programme:
Laura from South Gloucestershire was working as a self-employed massage therapist when the pandemic hit and she was unable to work. Laura has worked with career progression coach Helen to create an action plan and work out her next steps.
Since working with Helen, Laura has completed a business plan for her massage therapy business, increased her network and secured a part-time administrative role to supplement her self-employed income.
Laura said: “Helen is a legend! We met weekly or fortnightly over the phone to check in and update each other on my progress.”
“I’d tell other people to go for it. Don’t expect to have work done for you, but you’ll get out of it what you put in, and it’s good to have some clear goals and expectations set early on.”
Kim is a local businesswoman who runs jewellery-making courses in Kingswood. In the first wave of Covid she had to close down her teaching studio and even after lockdown measures were eased, she found herself unable to make a living as social distancing measures restricted the number of students she could teach.
Kim turned to Future Bright for support. The team are playing a crucial role during Coronavirus, helping individuals like Kim whose jobs or businesses have been impacted by social distancing and lockdown.
Kim accessed support from her career coach, Chris. Chris worked with Kim to plan how she could adjust her business model to make it profitable whilst adhering to the Covid-19 restrictions. He supported her and acted as a sounding board to help her make the changes to allow her to run workshops in a Covid-secure manner. Chris was also able to direct Kim to funding and training, and with his support, she is now planning how she can set up an online teaching offer.
“My entire experience with Future Bright was friendly, supportive and non-judgmental. I have a number of learning disabilities, but Chris took the time to listen and understand what I wanted to achieve and was flexible, accessible and responsive in the support he offered.
While we have just entered another lockdown, I feel calm and relaxed in the knowledge that everything is now in place ready for when workshops can resume. This clearer outlook frees me up to work on developing my online course, to make my business more future proof.”
|Sean’s story: Working as a security officer and with a family to support, Sean felt as though his ‘distant dream’ of becoming a paramedic was unachievable. Sean says: “I contacted Future Bright because I knew I needed help in funding a course, knowing what my skills and strengths were, how to communicate them and to build on them. I needed to find my courage.” With help from his Future Bright coach, Sean figured out the steps he wants to take. After gaining more confidence and working hard in his security job, his manager promoted him to a Public Safety Controller role. Sean says: “Future Bright offers a top service including funding. If you’re in paid work and receiving in-work benefits or tax credits, definitely sign up to the Future Bright programme because it will help you progress in life. I’m now preparing for my future, firstly as an Emergency Care Assistant (ECA) which will be another step towards me becoming a paramedic. I know that I will get there and so can others.”|
|Katie’s story: Katie, a single mum from Marshfield felt stuck in her career. She couldn’t see how to change her situation. As a single mum she was working hard on a low income but couldn’t progress as she lacked the skills needed. However with support from her Future Bright coach, Katie identified the training she needed to develop her career. Discover how she has been encouraged to not only apply for promotion at work but also work towards her long term goal of becoming a self-employed beauty therapist. Katie said: “The support I’ve received from Future Bright has been huge. It has boosted my confidence and helped me to take steps to improve my career. Best of all, my son is really proud of me and I can finally feel like a role model for him.”|
For more information
Future Bright is managed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and delivered locally by Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils.