About the Programme

The Making Changes for Careers programme is an exciting enterprise programme aimed at young people aged 16-29 who are not in employment, education or training who would like to start their own business.

The programme gives young people the opportunity to find out more about the ‘Big 13’ Enterprise Skills, as well as having the chance to access grants from the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank in order to develop their business ideas. 

Young people will also have the opportunity to access an experienced business mentor who will be on hand to offer expert advice and guidance. 


To be eligible for the Making Changes for Careers Programme you must be aged 16- 29 and claiming one of the following benefits:

  • Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Incapacity Benefit (IB)
  • IS – Income Support
  • Universal Credit claimant who are placed in: The Work Preparation Requirement or Work Focused Interview requirement.

Or you must be considered economically inactive (not part of the labour force):

  • Not be in employment, education or training*
  • Not in receipt of benefits
  • Distant from the labour market and need additional support, skills and/or confidence to enable you to move towards employment.

*You may have a small part time job (less than 16 hours per week), but as long as you are claiming any of the above benefits and are not in employment that takes you above the entitlement for benefits, education or training.

Please ring us to check your eligibility.


The Team

Gemma Helen Graham Mike

Gemma Helen Graham Mike

Team MC4C is made up of 2 Youth Enterprise Advisors, a Youth Enterprise Officer and a Youth Enterprise Support Officer who are all on hand to offer information, support, advice and guidance to make your journey to self-employment as smooth as possible.  All members of the team have a wealth of experience in working with young people to help them develop and reach their personal goals.

Youth Enterprise Ambassador Programme 

As part of the Youth Enterprise Section of Hull City Council strategy to engage with young people in order to sell the services of the Council and the opportunities that are available to them to develop their enterprising idea and to learn about key enterprise skills, they have recruited five young people, four of whom are entrepreneurs in their own right to promote the Making Changes for Careers Programme. Read about their experiences below.


Leigh Williamson – Leigh is owner and founder of Picturesque Photography.  Leigh was working alongside a photographer watermarking their work and helping them with complaints emails and the other admin related jobs, when Leigh had a light bulb moment and thought to herself ‘I can do this; I can open my own business from scratch doing this.’ So she just went with it. She loves taking photos of people and she has for a long time but says that she had never actually sat down and thought about it until her engagement with MC4C. Leigh’s business currently offers mobile and stationed photography. She caters for both large and small events.

Ben Robinson – Ben is proud owner of PreHistoric Hull; an education service - for people to learn about reptiles, encouraging them to feel comfortable around them. The way he does this is by going into schools to teach children and adults about reptiles, but furthermore he is also able to provide entertainment at birthday parties where he promotes the same educational messages. Ben had always been interested in reptiles and always wanted to be around them, from being a small child. He would gain his knowledge about reptiles by purposely going out of his way to go into reptile shops and asking questions about them and he had also volunteered in pet shops. He keeps a very large variety of reptiles from small geckos to some of the largest snakes and monitor lizards in the world. He has never been on a course to study herpetology – He’s just a guy with a passion for animals based on years of experience and learning.


Courtney Exelby – Courtney was one of the first young people to engage with the MC4C programme. Claiming she didn’t like people, Courtney was reluctant to get involved in most activities. Through the skills training and 1 to 1 support her confidence grew. She dabbled in self-employment; making a few craft items to sell, but ultimately sought out employment. She has now been in continuous employment, in a customer facing role for over a year. She serves as living proof that enterprise development isn’t just about self-employment, it can help to build confidence and improve many transferable skills, creating employment opportunities beyond setting up in business. 

Laura Russell – Laura’s business is named Russell’s Emporium, an online shop selling a range of period items such as petticoats, cravats, peg bags, reticules and carrier bag holders. Laura intends to expand and make pockets and coin purses, as well as taking on more complicated commissions such as tailoring. All of these items are handmade and bespoke. They have a classic but modern twist to them and can be used for any events, not simply the more obvious examples of weddings and re-enactment’s.

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Laura’s background is in historical research and owns many fashion books centred on the time of Jane Austen. The dresses and outfits inspire her and influence the way she designs the products.  Russell’s Emporium demonstrates how classic items have a place in the modern world.  Laura previously gained an undergraduate degree in History and Creative Writing, during which study, she gained useful research techniques. Laura has made her own dresses for festivals for the past few years and loves looking at fabric and feeling the textures from the different periods.

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Charlene Genter– Charlene, is owner of Charlene’s Crafty Creations. Prior to engaging with MC4C she had been dabbling in arts and crafts based hobbying for over ten years. It had been an interest that had grown year upon year. Originally she would just make products/cards for friends and family, testing the market to see if there was a demand for her products and services. Word of mouth pushed her business forward and she now gets enquiries and custom from a much wider base, advertising and social media has also helped to this effect. She had always been interested in setting up her own business but says that she had no idea about how to do a business plan or where to even start, before seeking the help of staff at MC4C.