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Golden Gates Housing Trust on track to support 450 local residents into employment

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Golden Gates Housing Trust on track to support 450 local residents into employment

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Published by Golden Gates Housing Trust for Golden Gates Housing Trust in Housing and also in Communities, Education

Warrington based social landlord Golden Gates Housing Trust (GGHT) have this week published a mid-term review of its ambitious plans to support its tenants and their family members into employment.

GGHT are committed to supporting its residents deal with changes brought about through the Government’s Welfare Reforms and the downturn in the economy. To achieve this, the Trust’s Board of Directors set aside just over £2 million at the beginning of 2012 to invest in creating a dedicated Employment Team. They were set a series of challenging targets, including helping to support up to 450 local residents into employment, education and volunteering over three years. The reports findings show that the Trust is on track to hit this target, thanks to a series of hugely successful initiatives.

One of the Trust’s earliest and most successful initiatives was the development of an extensive programme of in-house Trainee and Apprenticeship opportunities. To date 49 residents have been recruited on 12 month long Trainee contracts and 28 Apprenticeships on three year contracts, at a cost of just under £1 million.

The Trust is also using its investment in its homes to create further apprenticeship and employment opportunities. Following its successful transfer in 2010 the Trust set out to invest £105 million over five years delivering the “Warrington Standard” and to date have used this spend to create 40 jobs with its contractors. As part of the work undertaken in Longford to replace the Castle Walls our contractors were also able to recruit 22 local residents into a range of different roles.

More recently the Trust has launched its Positive Change programme, an innovative new scheme that has already attracted 650 registrations from those living in its homes and on its estates. The scheme uses modern communication methods, including SMS messages, emails and social media sites (www.facebook.com/gghtpositivechange) to connect those registered with the Trust’s own employment, training and volunteering opportunities, as well as those from other local organisations. Since its launch at the end of 2012, over 350 of those registered have attended a GGHT organised training session to increase their confidence or employability skills, 20 have taken up volunteering opportunities and 108 have secured employment.

The Trust is committed to taking its employment services out into the community to support its tenants and have established a series of highly successful job clubs. Run in conjunction with local partners, the clubs take place each week in Longford, Bewsey and Warrington Town Centre. Residents attending can receive one-to-one direct support from the Trust’s employment advisers and get free access to computers to help with their job search and employment applications. The Trust also recently coordinated an Employment Fair in Bewsey Community Park Centre, successfully attracting over 100 people looking for work. They were able to visit 12 different training and business stands, with over 50 jobs advertised in different sectors. On the day GGHT also launched their new community IT suite at the venue, providing free online access to local residents.

A key part of the Trust’s success has been the ability to bring in external funding, with just over £200,000 having been attracted to date. This money has been used to support the recruitment of additional apprentices and to deliver training, including pre employment training for NEET young people and the long term unemployed and confidence and motivational courses. The Trust have also generated additional income through the delivery of a Work Programme contract, supporting 24 local residents into sustained employment.

The Trust’s latest initiative sees it joining forces with Warrington Borough Council to offer a new Employer Incentive Scheme, supporting local employers to employ local people by offering a wage subsidy of between £3,000 and £5,000 to create jobs with training and apprenticeship roles. The partnership aims to subsidise up to 45 jobs and apprenticeships over the next 2 years.  

Tracey Walsh, Employment Initiatives Manager for GGHT, said: “We have developed a range of ways to engage with our residents and provide them with support into employment, training and volunteering. Whether it is attending one of our weekly job clubs to receive face to face support or just asking us a question by email or on our Facebook site, our residents can get what they want at a time and place that suits them.

“Our approach also supports the objectives set out in Warrington’s Learning and Skills Plan. We are committed to working in partnership with training providers, suppliers, the voluntary sector and local businesses to provide targeted employment and skills support. Our approach has also ensured that resources are targeted in areas where there is the greatest need in order to address the gap in levels of skills, employment and earnings between the most and least deprived parts of Warrington”.

Donna is a single-mum with three children living in a GGHT property in Bewsey, Warrington. She has been registered with the Trust’s Positive Change programme since in launched in June 2012 and is just one of the scheme’s many success stories. Speaking about her own personal journey, Donna said: “I first registered with Positive Change as I wanted to get back into volunteering and to support my local community. I was also drawn by the fact that the programme enabled me to combine volunteering with receiving employment support and I felt that it would help me to get an idea of what direction I wanted to go in.

“I got involved initially as a Community Engagement Champion and through this role helped the GGHT Employment Team to set up a new job club in Bewsey. This really built my confidence and the team encouraged me to apply for a full-time position as a Wellbeing mentor at Warrington Borough Council. Despite being nervous the team gave me lots of support with my application and the interview process and I got the job!”

Roy Smith, Chair of GGHT, said: ““At GGHT we are committed to improving life chances for our tenants, their families and other residents who live on our estates. I am delighted to see the progress that we have made in the last 18 months and look forward to future schemes helping to support more local people into local jobs. In particular I am confident that the new incentive scheme we have launched with Warrington Borough Council will help create a significant number of additional opportunities for Warrington residents.”

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