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Training partnership celebrates success

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Published by Rebecca Jackson for Kier Services in Education

City Stewardship scheme helps young people gain on the job experience City Stewardship scheme helps young people gain on the job experience

Young people in Sheffield benefit from unique training and engagement programme

A partnership offering unique training opportunities to young people in Sheffield, which helps remove barriers to employment and bridge an identified skills gap in horticulture and basic construction, has welcomed more than 2,500 learners since its inception in 1999. The partnership is also celebrating outstanding results for 2012, with almost 86% of the 250 students qualified successfully.

The City Stewardship programme contributes to Sheffield becoming a cleaner and greener environment in which to live, as well as improving social housing properties and public spaces.  The programme is run in partnership by repairs and maintenance provider Kier, Sheffield City Council, arms’ length management organisation Sheffield Homes and training provider CTS Training. An investment into the programme of more than £1.5m is made by Sheffield City Council and Sheffield Homes every year.

The programme enables learners between the ages of 16 and 18 to gain ‘on the job’ work experience opportunities while developing their skills and gaining accredited qualifications in a range of subjects including maths, English and ICT. Each team of four to five learners works alongside a dedicated supervisor who is a skilled tradesperson as well as a trained mentor. The skills learnt, along with valuable work experience placements provided by Kier, help learners to progress into full-time employment, apprenticeships or continue into further education on completing the course.

Kier regional managing director, Simon Bullen, commented: “This programme works so well because all involved are committed to providing first-class training opportunities for members of the local community. With 98% of our workforce coming from the local area, we understand how important it is to support local people into employment.
“The results the programme has achieved in supporting young people are outstanding, and we are proud to have been part of this award winning initiative. However, we always try and identify scope for improvement in all the work we carry out and we, alongside our partners, are looking closely at ways to better these results next year.”
Cllr Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “I'm pleased that this scheme has been such a success. It’s so important, and even more so in the current economic climate, that we make sure young people in Sheffield have the opportunities they need to get experience of the world of work. I’m very proud that by working together we have helped these youngsters on their way.”
The City Stewardship programme has won a number of awards since its inception in 1999, including Overall Winner at the CIPD People Management Awards 2008, the Training Award at the Celebrating Construction in South Yorkshire Awards 2010 and Employer of the Year in the Yorkshire Training Partnership Awards 2011.

In 2011/2012 the work undertaken by the programme included:
• Decorating 52 vacant properties
• Painting 232 communal staircases
• 482 other painting projects
• 1,708 environmental projects including improving vacant gardens
• 2,147 garden pledge completions for elderly and vulnerable tenants*.

* The Garden Pledge scheme is for elderly tenants over the age of 75. City Stewardship teams attend the properties once each year to tidy the residents’ gardens. Many of these residents do not have anyone else to carry out this work for them.

For more information on training opportunities with Kier Sheffield visit: http://www.kierservices.co.uk/ or for further information on the City Stewardship Programme contact CTS Training on 0114 2636570.

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