USP in Barton - find your unique selling point

Young people on a high ropes activity
13 March 2015
The second USP (Unique Selling Point) project for young jobseekers ran at The Neighbourhood Centre in Barton in January and February helping young job-seekers find their unique selling point.

The USP programme, co-tutored by Ray Starkie and Melanie Jewell from the East Oxford Hub, helps young people get ready for work or learning, and provides practical help, support and qualifications.

Free Driving Licence

Eleven young people took part and were rewarded for their commitment by gaining a free Provisional Driving Licence on completion of the programme.  The incentive will support our participants in their future job search activities and acts as a source of ID.  The group also gained AQA qualifications, recognising their achievements while on the course

Because of the location at the East Oxford Hub satellite in Barton, we focused on recruiting from Barton and adjacent OX3 areas.  Of the final group, six had affiliation to these areas, but others travelled from further afield, for example Greater Leys and Middle Ground.

Self Marketing Skills

We were impressed by the participants’ commitment to their personal development as we worked on the building blocks essential for a productive job search: identification of personal skills, achievements and challenges, building these into a representative CV and developing self-marketing skill to be demonstrated at the interview stage.

Careers Fest

As well as the core training delivery, the whole group attended the recent Careers Fest at BMW and we had several guest speakers: Martha Baker came from Pegasus Youth Theatre, and spoke about their Traineeship and Apprenticeship opportunities, Adam French, Managing Director of the Inspired Young People’s Project, delivered a session on what he is looking for when he recruits and Richard Kennell of Kennell Freelance Educational Services described SOFEA,  his food re-distribution project in Didcot and offered visits to the warehouse for anyone potentially interested in joining the project .

Several of our group are still considering some of opportunities they became aware of during the course, while others have already signed up for learning opportunities with EMBS and one has recently started a volunteer placement.

Next programme

We are able to offer continuing support to all at our regular drop-in at the Central Library in Westgate every Tuesday and Thursday between 1-4pm.   The next USP is due on the 9th September. If you want to join please email

We are grateful to staff at the Barton Neighbourhood Centre and to the caterers at Eatwell’s café there.  Thanks also to Nicola Cooper, who was co-tutor on the first USP programme in 2014 and who designed the striking promotional flyer, which she has given us permission to continue to use.

Ray Starkie and Melanie Jewell, March 2015