Our society and economy is changing.  Traditional industry is declining and being replaced by a Connected Economy in which the individual can prosper through the development of their Creativity and its linkage to the new Connected Economy. 
For ex-offenders/ individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, this transition makes them very vulnerable as they already face austerity, unemployment and dated skills. 
The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) research 'Connected Communities' - 2010, highlights that being in a connected environment builds "inclusion, resilience, empowerment ... and social capital". 
For offenders, ex-offenders and disadvantaged individuals who develop their creativity skills and link them to the new Connected Economy, this is a new and exciting opportunity. 
Creativity is often confused with artistry, but in this project its defined as the act of developing ideas and increased awareness of how environments and people are networked. This awareness can be used to increase an individual social capital and employability. 
The project has range of informal learning approaches and tools, empowering individuals to develop and flourish within the newly developing Connected Economy.  The project is helping to "excavate buried dreams", remove emotional scar tissue, resolve fear/learned helplessness, in order to more to more effectively articulate limiting beliefs, dreams and positive goals, thus helping to reduce re-offending rates.
Creativity and the Connected Economy is an employability project for ex-offenders in the community and those at risk. 
The project is funded by the Big Lottery.
The project uses photography, the organisation of presentations of work and the exploration of social media in order to achieve five project objectives:
1. Develop greater awareness of one’s environment and how things are linked together.
2. Stimulation of creativity of thinking.
3. Development of decision-making skills.
4. Development of pubic presentation skills, accuracy, self-confidence, the ability to justify and express personal opinions.
5. Introduction to a range of social media, developing an understanding of how this medium can be used to make positive connections with other interested parties, to develop employability and marketing opportunities for their creativity.
Embedded in the project are a range of key employability outcomes:
• Understanding the importance of connections
• Attention to detail and decision making
• ICT skills including the use of MS Office, Photoshop, graphics tablet, Internet and Social Media
• Practical presentation skills, (in front of groups, through their photos and in framing their images
• Working to agreed time scales
• Team working
• Development of Social Capital.
For examples of work created, please see below.
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