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City West provides Skills in the City

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Published by Bobbie H for City West Housing Trust in Housing and also in Care and Support, Communities, Universal Credit

Skills in the City: (L to R) Steve Pilling, new recruit Kevin Melia, and Viv Simon, Head of Enterprise at City West Housing Trust, at Steve’s The Dock Yard restaurant at MediaCityUK. Skills in the City: (L to R) Steve Pilling, new recruit Kevin Melia, and Viv Simon, Head of Enterprise at City West Housing Trust, at Steve’s The Dock Yard restaurant at MediaCityUK.

A new initiative from City West Housing Trust which aims to combat unemployment in communities across Salford by creating a generation of skilled workers is proving to be a great success. 

The Skills in the City scheme will see the landlord, which owns and manages 14,600 properties across West Salford, team up with companies from a wide range of sectors to provide experience, training and qualifications for people dreaming of starting a career.  

Residents who are selected to take part in the scheme will undertake a six week training course, funded by City West, aimed to set them on the right path in a specific field, followed by a spell working in-house with a local business allowing them to gain experience and learn direct from the professionals.  

The first trial of the project saw City West team up with the Steve Pilling group of seven restaurants across Manchester, with 10 City West customers gaining hands-on experience at Damson restaurant at MediaCityUK, while also achieving formal qualifications in Hygiene and Food Safety, Conflict Resolution and Personal Safety and Manual Handling.

A ceremony for the graduates was held at Damson restaurant with scheme participants going on to secure jobs in a range of Salford-based restaurants including Damson, The Dock Yard, The Blind Pig and The Britannia Hotel.

Kevin Melia, 54, from Eccles, had always dreamed of building a career. He had spent most of his working life moving from job-to-job and had struggled to find full-time employment in the past two-and-a-half years.

However, after graduating from the Skills in the City programme he is now enjoying the start of a promising career at Steve Pilling’s brand new The Dock Yard restaurant at MediaCityUK.

“I have really embraced going back to work,” he said: “I absolutely love it. Going through the Skills in the City course was the best thing I ever did.

“Gaining these qualifications has added another string to my bow, giving me an advantage in the job market and helping to boost both my confidence and the confidence my employer has in me.

“The course has given me the freedom to develop in my new role - I’ve already been given so much responsibility and it’s great to feel like a valued member of a team.

“The course has really helped to sharpen my skills alongside developing new ones – I now feel inspired to do everything I can to achieve since I completed this course.

“In fact, the course has already given me further opportunities than I expected after I was promoted from Front of House to Cellar Manager within a week of the restaurant opening. I couldn’t have achieved that without taking part in Skills in the City.”

Kevin adds: “Going through City West’s training programme has given me a bright new future and allowed me to embrace going back to work – I recommend anyone who is struggling to find work to get a place on the scheme.”

Viv Simon, Head of Enterprise at City West Housing Trust, said: “It is well documented that across the UK there is a problem with both unemployment and a lack of skills and training.

“Our team at City West is hugely passionate about creating thriving neighbourhoods in West Salford – and ensuring that people have the opportunity to find a job and train for a career they want is a huge part of that.

“We wanted customers living in our communities to have the chance to learn a trade and build their careers, whatever they aspire to be.

“City West has already created 240 jobs by ensuring that employment and training opportunities we create by investing in our properties and building new homes go to local people.

“The Skills in the City project builds on that success, and means that we can now expand the opportunities we offer to a wide variety of industries and career paths. It’s great to see local businesses coming together on a project like this to ensure that the next generation are given their chance to shine.”

“I want to congratulate Kevin on his new job, and for being promoted so early on – Kevin is a great example of what people who go on the programme can achieve.” 

City West ran a recruitment day earlier this month to find a new cohort for the Skills in the City programme. The scheme will focus again on the hospitality and catering sector, with training set to start over the next few months.

For more information on the Skills in the City programme, or to find out how to take part, please contact City West’s Enterprise Team on 0161 605 7792. 

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