It’s not just fantastic new facilities that make Orb unique, it’s the people in our community. And that community is getting stronger with some new additions to the Orb team. You’ve already met Josh our studio manager, well there’s Julian (also in the recording studio) and now handyman Andy.

We’ve been able to open doors for them through the Future Jobs Fund delivered in conjunction with the North Yorkshire Learning Consortium and the DWP. The Future Jobs Fund is helping us with our commitment to help young, potentially vulnerable people in our community and get them into employment. So we created three six-month long jobs in the last year that not only share new opportunities and experience, they put something back into Orb’s creative and supportive environment.

We’d like you to meet Andy

“Gardening? I thought I’d never get into that!”

Andy, in our Ecominds garden stood in front of our shed

Andy: our new handyman

Exclaims Andy who moved up to Knaresborough in North Yorkshire from Bournemouth on the hunt for new opportunities. He’s been at Orb for only two weeks now, but helping Mick with our Ecominds garden project is already changing his opinion of what he’d like to do for a living. He’s also putting his skills in carpentry to good use in Orb’s ArtSpace, building a booth for the drum kit.

“While I’m still young I want to get into something good. I’m more of a practical type man.”

In the past, Andy has worked as a labourer on building sites and on occasion got his fingers green doing some turfing. But he found himself at odds with other employers who didn’t show the trust and responsibility that’s needed to bring out the best in people:

“In other jobs I didn’t like the pressure… being watched all the time. It’s nice working in a friendly place for once.”

Thanks to the Future Jobs Fund and Orb’s creative supportive environment it’s brought about a change. He finds he works happily, quicker and harder without supervision and under his own initiative:

“It sounds weird but if you don’t rush you do the job better. The best thing about Orb … they tell me what they want and let me get on with it.”

Andy is only at the beginning of his six month contract, but there are already seeds of a longer-term plan to build up experience of gardening, then perhaps go back to college to study:

“Anyone can have a certificate. A lot of jobs … they want experience not just qualifications.”

That’s just what Orb is able to offer our younger team members: experience, trust and support in an unpressurised and creative environment.

Everyone wins

With the help of the Future Jobs Fund and North Yorkshire Learning Consortium we can offer employment that is mutually beneficial. It gives people like Andy, Josh and Julian experience, but also adds value to Orb: by improving our facilities, supporting other members making music in the recording studio and building our Ecominds garden project.

Meanwhile, it sounds like Andy has the right amount of energy and excitement to take him through to Summer next year:

“I’m getting into gardening… I’m looking forward to building the greenhouse and the pond, for some strange reason I enjoy it!”

This blog article was written by Chris Kenworthy: copywriter and photographer