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City West scheme prepares lone parents to find work

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City West scheme prepares lone parents to find work

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Published by Bobbie H for City West Housing Trust in Housing and also in Care and Support, Education

Single mother Treffina gets ready for a brighter future with City West Single mother Treffina gets ready for a brighter future with City West

A new programme by City West Housing Trust is helping single parents struggling to balance work and family life to get back into full-time employment.

The housing association has introduced a work placement scheme giving single parents who want to find jobs the chance to carry out work experience across the organisation and gain qualifications while working around their childcare needs.

A recent report by Policy Exchange showed that of the 1.8 million single parent households in the UK, more than a third are not in any sort of work. The introduction of the Government’s welfare reform changes has placed increased pressures on many single parents relying on benefit payments to support their children.

However, finding and securing work is often a huge challenge for parents caring for children alone, as they juggle school runs, holidays, and childcare arrangements with their work life.

Treffina Cascoe, a City West customer from Walkden, found full-time employment with the social landlord after completing its work placement scheme.

The 22-year-old is working as a Junior Administrator within City West's Organisational Development department, but originally feared she would not be able to balance finding work with caring for her three year old son, Mathew.

Treffina said: “I had been struggling with depression because I felt I didn’t have a routine to stick to – aside from caring for Mathew – but the programme has helped me to regain my confidence.

"Now I’m making friends at work, and best of all my new income means I can afford to pay my rent without worrying about how to make ends meet, and I can treat Mathew to days out and buy the new clothes he needs.

“Being a single parent is tough but I'm feeling much more positive about the future and I've got much more structure in my life.”

The work placement programme sees City West working in partnership with the Salford Foundation’s Cascade scheme, which also supports single parents, and Salford City College to deliver training courses to improve job searching, CV writing and interview skills.

Customers taking part in the scheme also get the chance to try their hand at various roles within City West, and have the option to gain qualifications to help boost their career prospects.

All the training and work experience is built around their family, to ensure they don’t have to rely on expensive childcare services while they prepare for working life.

Treffina added: “The programme offers the perfect balance – helping to get me work-place ready, while also giving me the chance to be there for my son during the holidays.

“I’m so grateful to City West. They allowed me to complete an NVQ Level 2 in Business Administration and they have helped me to turn my life around.”

Colette McKune, Deputy Chief Executive at City West, said: “This scheme is tailored to meet the needs of single parents, working around their childcare commitments, and it provides a fantastic opportunity for attendees to gain the confidence and skills needed to find full-time paid employment opportunities.

“City West is committed to helping our customers in Salford communities to get onto the employment ladder, and schemes like this empower and support customers to take positive steps towards finding long-term employment."

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