In 2015 we ran our first employment program in partnership with Midlands Together, a Birmingham based CIC that was undertaking a pilot program to recruit individuals with an offending background who were looking for work. We converted a large Victorian property in Worcester into 6 flats, using local contractors, with a view to providing some skills training for selected participants over an 8 month period.
This was a valuable learning experience that has led to the formation of several small enterprises that are now beginning to create a range of work based opportunities for different suitable participants.
One participant initially joined the team as a member of the construction program and graduated from the program to become self-employed. Since then he has been working with us to develop a gardening and landscaping service that has grown to include grass cutting and maintenance for private customers, landlords and small housing associations. Our objective is to grow this to provide more paid work opportunities for future participants.
We have had the opportunity to team with a small number of commercial customers and a local builder to develop a painting and decorating business. The team member heading this up has now already been able to take some participants out on to projects to give an initial taster and induction into the world of painting and decorating.
Similarly we have partnered with Kingsway Build and Wood Plumbing in Worcester and Droitwich to provide ad hoc labour to these businesses in exchange for some initial on-the-job skills training. Several participants have undertaken numerous hours with these businesses as supervised work placements and are beginning to identify skills and trades that they wish to focus on as part of their journey to becoming work ready.