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Young people preparing macaroons as a part of the MacsMAD programme © BDO

12 July 2019 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal  

In 2019, it’s easy for examples of genuine innovation on outsourced facilities management contracts to go unreported. At Facilitate, we’re keen to ensure that our readers - and the wider world - are made aware of the many routine examples of dynamic service enhancement that continue to characterise the sector. So, we’re introducing Inventive Outsourcing - a regular example of imaginative contract innovation voiced by those involved.

The Contract:

The Macaroons That Make A Difference (MacsMAD) programme is run by community interest group Miss Macaroon, which manufactures and supplies macaroons in Birmingham. The programme provides training to help young unemployed people.

Location: Birmingham

The Innovation:

The programme provides unemployed young people with training and work experience focused on retail and catering skills, as well as mentoring to help them get ‘work-ready’. The course has raised participants’ self-belief and motivation. The programme provides macaroons for companies including Baxter Storey, BP, Goldman Sachs, BaxterStorey, Virgin Money, Karl Lagerfeld, Google, Instagram, Facebook and PwC.  It also regularly supplies to Midcounties Co-Op’s Bourton-on-the-Water and Chipping Norton stores.

Q&A with Miss Macaroon founder Rosie Ginday

What is the MacsMAD programme?

“It’s a 10-week programme that aims to help long-term unemployed people aged 18 to 35 to build their confidence and gain the skills they need to be work-ready. We provide work experience opportunities and training to help them develop transferable skills.”

Who are the programme participants?

“We work with care leavers, ex-offenders, young people at risk of homelessness, with mental health issues, lone parents, neurodiverse people, and people with learning difficulties. The people that do the programme are referred to us from lots of different organisations including the prison and probation service, housing associations, and different charities.”

What do the participants do and what skills do they learn?

“Small groups of up to six people do five weeks in our training kitchen, then five weeks of work experience and assessment focusing on retail or catering skills. They get a real insight into how a business runs, and the skills and qualities that are needed. They do a ‘strengths presentation’ to help give confidence and develop communication skills, and they also get two well-being sessions with a counsellor.

Participants get a level-2 hygiene qualification and a level-1 employability diploma. They learn resilience, leadership, communication, and how to behave in the workplace. They also have sessions with a recruitment company to get a CV together and do mock interviews, as well as a session with someone from a bank to make sure that they are financially literate. They’re introduced to potential employers through ‘Welcome to work tours’, mentor sessions, and work experience placements.”

How many young people has the programme helped so far?

“We’ve had 56 people go through the course so far since we started it in 2011.” 

What kind of jobs have they gone on to get?

“People who do the programme end up in lots of different sectors, not just catering or retail. There are some who have worked at the Marriott Hotel and local restaurants, but also some have gone into IT and construction. The programme helps people figure out their aspirations and it’s a really good way in to a lot of areas.”

How is the programme funded?

“We are funded by our customers who buy our macaroons. Whether that’s our corporate customers like Google and Instagram, wedding customers or the general public who buy in our store in the Great Western Arcade in Birmingham or on online shop, they all fund the MacsMAD programme. We are a social enterprise so 100 per cent of anything we make gets put back into what we’re doing.” 

What future plans do you have?

“We’re co-creating a programme that teaches participants to create a product, brand, market and sell it and learn the financial skills required in business. They have the opportunity to pitch for £500 of funding, free kitchen space and mentoring for six months.”