Choices is a tried and tested course that empowers people to take control of their lives and circumstances; achieve their potential; and boost their confidence; to flourish and choose their own future. Choices helps people develop their strengths, skills and passions, providing strategies to overcome barriers and helping them achieve life goals and purpose.
- 1993 Choices started as a ‘Get that Job’ (GTJ) course discovered by former CEO Nigel Hughes through his brother-in-law, in response to a concern that Nigel had as a Careers Advice Manager about the high rates of unemployment in Southampton.
- 1994 The first course was piloted at St James Church by Andy Foreman and Jacqui Hollick. Andy left his job at MFI in 1995 to market and run the SAFE Get That Job (GTJ) course with Jacqui as a part-time volunteer. This was followed by two further pilot courses run by Andy and Jacqui at ‘Southampton City Training’ (SCT) and Thornhill Baptist church.
Choices first decade - Pre-Employment Training:
- 1996 Nigel set up the Southampton Action For Employment (SAFE) charity in August 1996, as a vehicle through which to run the Get that Job course.
- 2002 SAFE facilitator Jacqui Hollick discovered a STEPs course, through the Training Enterprise Council which provided more holistic life-skills which was bolted on to GTJ to form a new course.
Choices second decade – Cognitive Behavioural and Vocational 10-day training programme:
- 2006 Concerned that 70% of candidates were presenting with issues such as anxiety and depression, Nigel designed Choices and commissioned Mandy Harding, from Southampton’s Central Hall Counselling Service, to produce a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based course which was called Choices.
- 2007-2009 A three-year study by the University of Southampton, overseen by Professor Nick Maguire, evidenced exceptional outcomes for this new Choices course with 87% improvement in mental health issues. Follow on research showed that 50% of long-term unemployed candidates obtained and sustained employment.
- 2009 Youth Choices and Schools Choices were developed from this new Choices course by SAFE Youth Developer, Kim Carey.
- 2010 The manual was refined by Andy alongside Jacqui and Nigel.
Choices third decade: New programme developments and Licensed programmes
- 2016 -2017
Choices Training and Development Ltd was set up to become a trading arm of SAFE.
Nina Kelly (SAFE Chief Development Officer) proposed the development of a 3-day course in 2015 which was successfully piloted with Southampton City Council in December 2016. It was based on the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy aspects of the 10-day course.
Nina developed a Licensed Choices model bought by Southampton City Council to run two Youth courses under licence in 2017 following an initial two-day training period in Dec 2016.