Social enterprise sends graduates into the world of employment

Sadik Hussain, Emily Charlton, Rosie Ginday and Thomas Reeves

Twenty-eight individuals aged between 18 and 35 years old have graduated from the MacsMAD course at an event held at Aston University.

The initiative, which has been running for more than ten years, provides young people who are low in confidence, suffering mental health issues or recent prison and care levers with a ten-week course at Miss Macaroon.

Learners are trained by the social enterprise in skills to get them ready for employment and work in Miss Macaroon’s production kitchen alongside professional chefs.

They are also supported by a psychotherapist and counsellor.

Ran by Rosie Ginday MBE, she said: “MacsMAD has been a fundamental part of our growth over the last eleven years, and we have worked really hard to evolve the training and the course to reflect the different challenges young people and adults face.”

“When they start, 65% are dealing with some form of mental health issue, 12% are lone parents and 38% have autism spectrum disorder. One in five are ex-offenders, a big priority for our ongoing support.

“They all share a desire to overcome their barriers, to learn new skills and to hopefully get into work…we just use macaroons to bake a better future for them. It’s a real team effort too; everyone who buys a macaroon or visits our stores at the Grand Western Arcade and Resorts World is contributing to making MacsMAD a success.”

134 graduates have so far completed the programme, with 64 achieving Kickstart work placements with the business and others going on to work with other local employers.

Everyone is supported by their programme leader, work buddy, psychotherapist and counsellor and has access to their mentor for six months after the course ends.

The Graduation Ceremony was kindly held by Aston University and also recognised some of the stars who have helped support and mentor the individuals on their journey.

Ricky Perry was the ‘Above and Beyond’ winner. He shared his story of how extreme anxiety almost stopped him from joining to completing the programme, gaining a permanent job with us and becoming a MacsMAD Leader in the process.

Denise Worth was the ‘Helping Hand Supporter’ winner for her efforts in mentoring new MacsMAD trainees and even supporting one to gain emergency housing, advocating on their
behalf to avoid becoming homeless.

The final winner on the evening was Alice Knight, who was named the Star Ambassador. This was for the way she has visited multiple job centres, jobs fairs and colleges around the city to help create new relationships and promote the MacsMAD programme.

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