Employment project celebrates latest success stories
Published by Kelly Elliott for Derwentside Homes Ltd in Housing and also in Communities
29-year-old Chris Fenwick (front) and 25-year-old Adam Cox who have both secured jobs with Springs Roofing through Derwentside Homes’ Brighter Futures project.
A County Durham dad who was out of work for three years following a motorbike accident is now forging a new career for himself thanks to a North East employment project.
Chris Fenwick was desperate to get back into work after recovering from the crash and had been looking for several months when he heard about a scheme called Brighter Futures, run by his landlord Derwentside Homes.
Through the project, the 29-year-old secured a six-month placement with roofing contractor Springs Roofing and, after impressing bosses with his work ethic and determination, has now been offered a permanent contract with the company.
Chris, of Lanchester, said: “I’d done a bit of roofing before my accident and really wanted to find a job where I could learn new skills and build a trade for myself.
“Being offered a permanent job is brilliant, it means I have more security and can spend more money on the kids and don’t have to worry about running the car - it will make a big difference.
“I’d definitely recommend Brighter Futures to anyone out there looking for work - the support I got was great and I don’t think I’d be in this position if it wasn’t for their help.”
Brighter Futures is run by Derwentside Homes and funded by North East Procurement (NEP) - a consortium of social housing providers who purchase labour or materials collaboratively. In doing so, members not only receive substantial commercial efficiencies but a proportion of the savings go towards funding projects such as Brighter Futures.
In addition to social housing provider members, NEP also has a variety of trade members, such as Springs Roofing, who bid for work available through the consortium.
As part of their contracts, these companies are expected to provide work placements to local people, thereby supporting the local economy.
Springs Roofing Contracts Director Matthew Rowley said: “We find the system works really well as we are able to find local employees like Chris who are keen to learn and give them the experience they need.
“Because of the work we secure though NEP we have been able to grow our business, so many of the people we’ve taken on through the placements have subsequently been offered full-time jobs afterwards.”
As well as employing Chris, Springs Roofing have also offered a job to 25-year-old Adam Cox, who carried out a one-month volunteer placement with the company which he also secured through Brighter Futures.
Brighter Futures Employment Initiatives Officer Michelle Graham said: “The aim of Brighter Futures is to help local people back into work or training by whatever means possible, whether it’s boosting people’s confidence, giving them new skills such as computer training or showing them how to look for jobs.
“By working with local employers we can match up people looking for work with local companies looking for people with particular interests or skills.
“Our partnership with NEP has yielded some fantastic results and I’m sure there will be many more success stories such as Chris and Adam’s in the future.”
Chief Executive of NEP, Phil Wise, said: “As a leading procurement consortium for social housing in the North East, we go beyond delivering sustainable efficiencies and utilise these to help our members deliver their social objectives.
“Through our Future Sparks Fund we have invested over £1 million in projects across the North East helping to regenerate communities whilst also creating opportunities for local people to access work experience and paid employment.”
To find out more about the Brighter Futures project please contact Michelle Graham on 0777 183 1733 or email email@example.com