ENGIE: Volunteering Renovating a Garden for a Care Leaver

ENGIE: Volunteering Renovating a Garden for a Care Leaver

Case Study

ENGIE: Volunteering

Renovating a Garden for a Care Leaver Case study.

ENGIE are committed to delivering Social Value in the communities where we are contractually working.

Client: Leeds City Council / DfE

Location: Leeds City Council / DfE

Date: October 2019

As part of the ongoing works, ENGIE have been taking part in local community initiatives and providing employment and training opportunities for local people.

In light of this, Engie staff used their volunteering day to renovate a care leaders garden in Leeds.

On a wet October day, three willing volunteers visited a property in Leeds to clear an overgrown garden. First job of the day was to remove low hanging branches from the large mature trees, letting more light in and making it a more inviting space. Long grass, nettles and dense blackberry bushes were cut back to ground level, while leaving a more natural buffer strip at the rear fence to public open land in order to both soften the boundary, leaving a more natural line.

Both freshly cut and rotten branches alike were cut to length and left in small log piles to form bug hotels to enhance the bio-diversity of the garden and create natural habitats. Overgrowth of bushes to the front access steps were cut back revealing a handrail and allowing easier and safer access. Huge thanks to Ian Coleman, David Mellor and Jason Shoesmith for using their volunteering day to help Laura.

Also, thanks to Jock Coates for arranging removal of rubbish but moreover, a big shout out to Gary Hall who removed all the rubbish to the tip for us.

Key Features

  • Engie Staff Volunteering their time
  • Wellbeing
  • Assisting a care leaver
  • Promoting Social Mobility

Outcomes

The works have helped the care leaver by creating her a pleasant environment for her to enjoy within her own home. Due to its overgrown nature she never previously had use of her garden.

Care Leaver:
“Thank you to ENGIE for stepping in and working on my shared garden which had become too overgrown and unmanageable. I did not have the equipment to try and have a go myself. I am saving to buy a lawnmower and shears for next year as I now feel I can keep on top of it – thank you ENGIE.”

Contact for further information:

To find out more please contact 01709 766 000 and places.engie.co.uk.

‘Life of Ryan’ a Spectra Original

‘Life of Ryan’ a Spectra Original

Case Study

'Life of Ryan' a Spectra Original

This is a short animation which depicts the care journey of our first Care Leaver Covenant ambassador. Told through Ryan’s eyes, this narrative charts his route through care, detailing some of his difficulties – the ups and downs, but also what it means to have a strong support network. The Care Leaver Covenant is about facilitating and growing that network for all care leavers, so that young people, such as Ryan aren’t isolated and alone.

Pure Insight

Pure Insight

Case Study

Pure Insight

Pure Insight is a charity, working alongside leaving care teams in Stockport, Trafford and Cheshire East, to provide networking, mentoring, parental support, mental-health support, and a range of other support services for care leavers.

Background

Pure Insight was established as a small local charity in January 2013 as a direct response to issues highlighted by local young people leaving care. It works alongside care-leaving teams in the North West, i.e. Stockport, Trafford and Cheshire East. Pure Insight was founded with, and by, people with lived and professional experience of care who are committed to challenging the issues faced by many care leavers. The CEO believes that core funding should be provided by the local authorities but that the charity adds social value by its fund-raising strategy. The diverse range of funding streams allows for the development of sustainable projects to support the needs of care leavers in the longer term.

Staff work with care leavers who are able to shape future projects. Over 150 volunteers have been recruited and trained to work on a range of projects. It has bases in all three areas. Pure Insight consults regularly with the Department for Education and gets involved with national initiatives so it was pleased to support the Care Leaver Covenant.

Pure Insight works with some of the less-well-heard care leavers who may have had up to 30 different placements in their lives. It targets care leavers in the 16-28 age range – ‘a stage rather than an age’ approach. After 28 they can become ‘a volunteer that has needs’.

‘Care Leavers tend to be very disconnected from their local communities and it is a trusting relationship that they need more than anything else’.

Staff agree to meet the young people at times when other ‘services’ are not available such as evenings and weekends because crises are not conveniently restricted to a normal working day. This distinguishes Pure Insight’s offer from that of many other organisations working with this group of young people. The policy is also to keep written records to a minimum and only to share information with other organisations sparingly, and on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. This is because young people tend to be very suspicious of records about them being passed around numerous agencies. It can be a novel experience to start a new relationship with a clean slate.

Pure Insight’s interventions have an impact on the reduction of crisis situations which has a huge effect on front-line services. When young people benefit from a long-term trusting relationship they are less likely to present in crisis to A&E, mental-health services, police, prison and to front-line, social-care services. They are also more likely to become responsible tenants and less likely to be evicted. Pure Insight focuses on the three key outcomes of the Care Leaver Covenant: support for independent living; greater stability, feeling safe and secure; and improved access to health support.

The partnership

Pure Insight works closely with local authorities’ care-leaving teams in Stockport, Trafford and Cheshire East to enhance their offer to care leavers. There is a proactive relationship with the leaving-care teams which involves co-location for part of the week. There are strong links with senior management to ensure that the ‘care leaver voice’ is fed in at an appropriate level to influence decision-making. For example, the Director of Children’s Services is invited to a coffee evening to hear care leavers, mentors and staff discuss service provision and current issues.

It also works closely with housing providers, supported lodgings, clinical partners, counselling-and-mental-health partners. There is close liaison with probation and youth offending services. Pure Insight also draws in other community and local organisations. e.g. Stockport County Football Club is a key supporter providing free tickets for home matches and a free bus for day trips.

The offer

A key goal of Pure Insight is to end the isolation of care leavers by providing numerous opportunities for them to connect with trusted adults and other young people in a similar situation. It has a number of programmes aimed at care leavers. The photograph shows Janine, the care-leaver engagement worker, accompanying Chris, a care leaver, to a national benchmarking forum.

Café Zest

Café Zest provides a venue where young people can meet other care leavers in a safe environment supported by empathic adults. The Café is a commercial operation that allows Pure Insight to take over the premises on Wednesday evenings. About 20 care leavers, sometimes with their children, attend each week and this allows them to get to know each other, as well as gaining access to people who can help them in various ways. For example, a woman who is given food by local supermarkets has a stall at the café.

‘I have been involved with Pure Insight for about a year now after my friend told me about Café Zest. I go to the Café every week to chill and it gives me something to do during the week, especially as it reminds me that the weekend is coming too. If I didn’t go to the Café, I wouldn’t meet other people like myself as I don’t go out much alone. I like talking to young people with similar experiences and to have an opportunity to make arrangements to meet up outside of the Café. Café Zest is good for those people who might not get a healthy hot meal any other time in the week. Everyone knows each other really well and there are adults there to help to sort any problems, especially when people don’t get on.’
18-year-old care leaver in Stockport

Mentoring

The mentoring programme is the largest of Pure Insight’s projects. There are currently 120 mentoring relationships over the three areas. The mentoring programme costs an average of £3,000 per mentee but there are enormous potential savings from avoiding the crises which can burden the public purse. Volunteer mentors work with their care-leaver mentee over two years following the ‘journey’ from living in care to independent living. The requirement is that mentors have 2-3 hours contact time each week. They agree to meet in the evenings or at weekends (as do Pure Insight staff) whatever is best for their mentees. Mentors commit to a nine-week (evening) training programme which involves lots of practical exercises and opportunities to meet, and hear from, young people.

The aim is to recruit mentors who will be in it for ‘the long haul’ and who may stay involved in the lives of their ‘mentee’. The project involves both mentoring and befriending and it is a ‘relationship-based model’ which is built around the needs of the care leaver so every mentoring pair will have different aims and objectives. An important sub-group is care leavers who are parents as mentors can play a vital role in providing support for young families.

The continual support of a mentor helps young care leavers develop coping strategies to deal with both every day, and extraordinary, issues they may be faced with upon leaving the care system. The presence of a consistent adult role model offers invaluable life skills, such as appropriate social-interaction skills, negotiation skills, accepting compromise and creative thinking around problem-solving; skills all young people will need in adulthood.

‘In June this year, I was matched to my mentor, Joanne. I see her as someone who has a lot more experience of life and is just like a friend to me. She is not linked to other services so I know that what I talked to her about is confidential in the same way that I can talk to close friends my age. When we meet up, we both enjoy a good cup of coffee while we chat about life in general or any worries that I might have.’
18-year-old care leaver

Parental support

A high proportion of care leavers become parents or single parents at a young age so Pure Insight has developed a package of support measures. The Angels Teams volunteers mobilise around a new mum or a mum in crisis. They also offer regular support to mum, which could be emotional or practical, in order for her to thrive, replicating what those with support networks have when they become parents.

‘I wouldn’t have my kids if it wasn’t for ** she has shown me how to be the best mum I can be, I wouldn’t have my daughter back if it wasn’t for Pure Insight.’
Care leaver mum age 22

Support is offered to attend formal meetings such as pre-birth assessments, child protection, parenting assessments or court hearings to get their voice heard and share what they are experiencing (as lots of mums go into ‘freeze mode’ in meetings). Pure Insight also offers long-term support from a mentor who will support the family to thrive. Peer parent-support groups meet regularly to support each other and offer advice and guidance around parenting and important issues such as child development and attachment.

Have your say

Pure Insight has partnered with the Stockport Leaving Care Team to provide a platform for young people to have their voices heard. ‘Have Your Say’ was originally a care-leaver group In Stockport that met to discuss and highlight areas that they feel local services need to focus on. Listening carefully provides real opportunity for young people to influence current and future service delivery in local services that affect their lives. However, Pure Insight now can consult all their care leavers ‘clients’ by asking open-ended questions on Facebook as they run a number of closed care leaver focused Facebook groups.

Peer mentoring

Pure Insight has developed a peer-mentoring programme that matches older care leavers in one-on-one relationships to provide guidance for looked-after children aged 8 to 16.

Through this special relationship, peer mentors provide advice and support and serve as role models for younger people who need help. Challenges facing those being mentored include problems with schoolwork; social issues, such as pressure to drink or smoke; family problems or tension; and other typical difficulties of growing up. A peer mentor can also simply be someone for a younger student ‘to hang out with’. However, the programme is not currently funded so it is ‘ticking over’ with a small number of matched pairs. It has also been proved essential to have a second mentor, to support their pairing, who is able to step in to support the first care-experienced mentor.

Mental Health Support

Pure Insight works in partnership with Beacon Counselling to refer any young care leaver that feels they will benefit from counselling. The counselling offers an opportunity for self-discovery, inner strengths and helps to understand current problems and challenges then find ways to remove or overcome them. Young people who make use of counselling at Beacon feel more confident, better about themselves and have improved relationships with others (partners, family, friends, or colleagues). Very importantly, they also tell us they feel better equipped and more resilient to deal with future challenges. Pure Insight has also recruited its own Psychological Wellbeing Worker to provide therapeutic emotional support to young care leavers (and a number of other functions).

There is a fast-track trauma counselling service in Stockport and Cheshire East. This can be mobilised very quickly and it is designed to be ‘flexible and creative’. Some mental-health services tend to be ‘too rigid’ which can make them difficult for young care leavers to access. Since July 2018 there have been 32 referrals to the ‘service’ and 16 are working with the Psychological Wellbeing Worker. They may have been given labels but not provided with much help on how they can live practically with the diagnosis. The waiting list for ‘talking services’ is currently about eight months in the local area and this can be devastating for a young person who is in crisis now.

Group activities

Part of the core mission of Pure Insight is to plug care leavers into a network. Group activities allow this to happen. For example, the annual day trip to Llandudno helps create memories, provide opportunities to meet people who have had similar experiences to themselves, and to escape from their current environment. Group activities are put on about once per month.

‘This is the first Christmas that I haven’t spent alone for years.’
Care leaver age 19

There is a Christmas dinner in Stockport which caters for up to 50 care leavers (from Stockport, Trafford and Cheshire East) who would otherwise be alone on Christmas Day. 

Project management

The charity is managed by a board of trustees some of whom are care-experienced, others are from business or a health-and-social care background. There are 12 staff led by the Chief Executive Officer who is supported by an Operations Manager. There are mentoring coordinators, Psychological Wellbeing Worker and project workers, again a good number have lived experience.

Challenges

The key challenge, as with all charities, is ensuring a diverse range of funding streams so that projects are sustainable. It is the case that it is often better to do nothing than to offer something then to take it away after a year.

Secondly, it is a challenge working with different partner organisations that have different cultures.

Thirdly, as mentoring is the largest programme, recruiting a diverse range of mentors is difficult. As with other mentoring programmes, mentors tend to be overwhelmingly female and middle class, while it would be helpful to have more male, working-class mentors.

Tips – do’s and don’ts

DO be flexible and responsive which means being prepared to work in the evenings and at weekends. Local staff and volunteers need to be able to mobilise locally to sort out any problems that arise outside of 9am-5pm. But that flexibility needs to extend to working hours within the organisation in order to ensure a healthy life-work balance.

DO recruit people who are care-experienced as staff and volunteers. They are the people who will be prepared to go ‘above and beyond’ because they know what it feels like to be a care leaver. Other lived experience comes in valuable too.

DO be prepared to challenge and fight for the young people you are working with. It is important to be assertive and strong when not accepting injustice. At the same time, it is important to be able to maintain trusting relationships so as not to alienate people who can make a difference.

DON’T do anything without consulting care leavers about the planning, delivery and evaluation of programmes and projects. Projects that are successful tend to be those that are ‘needs-led’.

DO be prepared to ‘fail-fast’, that is, if something is not working then be prepared to change it rapidly.

Contact for further information:

Sarah Sturmey, CEO, Pure Insight
Email:
Website: www.pure-insight.org.uk

Pure Insight offers consultancy for other organisations and local authorities that are working or want to develop their work with care leavers. Please contact Sarah for further information.

Barnardo’s and Saint-Gobain: Construction Training Programme

Barnardo’s and Saint-Gobain: Construction Training Programme

Case Study 003

Barnardo’s and Saint-Gobain: Construction Training Programme

Partners Barnardo’s and Saint-Gobain, supported by Barking & Dagenham College and Phoenix Housing, are offering care leavers a ‘dry-lining’ traineeship programme to help fill skills gaps for construction employers.

Background

Barnardo’s is the UK’s largest children’s charity and a vital part of their work involves care leavers. In 2016-17 they helped 3,200 care leavers to live independently and supported 7,200 looked-after children. Saint-Gobain is a global corporation which designs, manufactures and distributes materials and solutions to the construction sector, and beyond. Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland owns some of the leading names in the construction sector such as: British Gypsum, Jewson, Weber and Isover. During 2017-18, Barnardo’s was Saint-Gobain’s chosen charity and its employees, customers and suppliers raised over £213,000.

Barnardo’s have established a programme called Building Hope to support care leavers across five south London boroughs. Saint-Gobain has set up a community-training academy called Future Place in Lewisham. Saint-Gobain and Barnardo’s have now partnered together to make a tangible difference by providing care leavers with support and new opportunities.

The programme developed by Saint-Gobain and Barnardo’s sees a Building Hope programme operating in the Future Place Academy, Lewisham. The scheme provides construction training to care leavers and introduces them to potential employers through Saint-Gobain’s vast customer network. Barnardo’s provides wraparound pastoral support in the centre and is also delivering a supported lodging service. Saint-Gobain is also supporting Barnardo’s with funds and expertise on another Building Hope project; the construction of new local residential homes for young people leaving care.

There is a skills shortage of ‘dry-lining’ labourers in the construction industry. Dry lining is the fitting of plasterboard or other board material to finish walls and ceilings, in place of the more traditional plastering. Saint-Gobain has funded the Future Place academy in Lewisham, South-East London. The level of funding has been upwards of £160,000 for the first year. The project started in December 2017 with the appointment of staff. A pilot training course was run between April and July 2018, and the second programme will run from September to December 2018. Employers linked to Saint-Gobain attended the launch event and the pilot graduation in July.

‘This project is a real win-win because not only are we taking steps to address a huge issue for our customers. We can also give these vulnerable young people the opportunity to have a long and fulfilling career.’
Shenaaz Chenia, Director of Industry and Community Training Saint-Gobain Delegation UK & Ireland

The partnership

The establishment of the Future Place Academy has been the product of an innovative and complex partnership involving the private, public and voluntary sectors.

Saint-Gobain has provided the funding for staff and resources, as well as access to employers in the supply chain for advice and work experience. Jewson provided toolboxes and Weber gave tools and equipment for use by trainees. British Gypsum also donated materials and their trainers reviewed the quality of the technical training. The Director of Community Training is the main link between the company and the Academy.

Barnardo’s has provided the staff and management of the programme.

Barking and Dagenham College has provided the technical trainers and course accreditation.

Phoenix Housing, a Lewisham housing association, has provided the premises for the academy, the Meadows Centre in Bellingham, South East London. The building is managed by Barking and Dagenham College.

The offer

The programme provides pre-employment training, work experience, and personal support, as well as construction-skills development. It is targeted at young people aged 16-25 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), looked after or leaving care and residents of the London Borough of Lewisham. There is a detailed recruitment plan in place to ensure that as much as possible is known about those enrolling on the programme. Referrals are mainly from personal advisers, carers, Job Centre coaches or social workers. The referral and selection process involves an application answering questions such as: ‘What is their housing situation? Do they have any financial issues? Have they been in trouble with the law? What are their previous qualifications? Do they have any addiction issues?’

This helps enormously when the team meets the young people for a practical, taster session and subsequent interview. Following that they attend an enrolment day which is managed by the College. This is important as, through the College, they have access to bursary and discretionary funds. Upon joining the course, the initial two-week consists of an induction-and-assessment period enables various individual assessments and diagnostic tests are carried out for functional skills, as well as the completion of Individual Learning Plans, and the Young Person’s Outcome Star (licensed from Triangle Consulting Social Enterprise Ltd) to be used to assess where the young people are and to guide 1:1 working. There is an action plan attached to identify goals that they will work towards during the programme.

Over the 16-week period the successful recruits have the opportunity to obtain:

96 hours vocational training

Gain a Dry Lining award, Level 2 City & Guilds, a CSCS card (essential health-and-safety qualification allowing access to building sites) and Functional Skills in numeracy and literacy.

120 hours' work placement

Spread over about five weeks – getting to know the industry through work experience at reputable organisations.

Employability, life skills and personal development

Group and 1–1 support to help young people towards independent living, employment and accommodation.

Mentoring

Advice and guidance from individuals within the construction industry (someone at their work placement but trained and given a DBS by Barnardo’s).

Employer contact

They will have the opportunity to meet employers through day visits to workplaces, work placements and talks at the Academy.

In addition, the Academy provides: breakfast and lunch; support to maintain tenancy; secure accommodation; access to financial assistance; and free Personal Protective clothing (PPE).

‘I had a bad start to my life and moved around lots of different hostels and foster homes. I just wanted to get a job and sort my life out, and I loved the academy course since the very first second. Now I want to get a job, then a house and then I’d like to open my own business.’
Former student Derek, aged 20

The first pilot programme ran for a shorter period of 12-weeks between April to July 2018. It was initially offered exclusively to Lewisham residents, but with recruitment below anticipated numbers, it was widened to include the adjacent boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth and Southwark. The academy is now working with personal advisers and social workers to recruit eligible young people to the programme from across the five boroughs. The pilot began with 12 young people and 8 went through the programme, with 7 graduating and 2 entering further training and education.

There are various options at the end of the programme such as: an apprenticeship with an (work-experience) employer; or alternative employment; or enrolling on a different course with the College. For two months beyond the 16 weeks they will receive further 1:1 sessions to address progression pathways through The BUILD Model.

The wraparound support programme which Building Hope has developed for care leavers is called THE BUILD model. This is adapted from a scheme for ex-offenders developed at a project called Recycling Lives based in Preston.

There are six elements which can be worked through as required by YP in a “building block” approach, which is needs-led:

  1. Health and Wellbeing
  2. Practical Skills
  3. Learning & Employment
  4. Housing
  5. Finance
  6. Personal and Professional Development (Exit Plan, finding work/in-work support).

The BUILD Model offers holistic support for young people through a Project Worker (PW) in group and 1:1 sessions: supporting participants towards sustained independence, employability and accommodation. This is where Building Hope links with existing services for care leavers through local authority and local charities, e.g. Phoenix Housing Services provides input and support on tenancy issues. Lewisham Young People’s Service run by Compass provides on-site information, advice and guidance in sessions covering sexual health, relationships, drugs and alcohol.

Project management

The project is staffed by three full-time and one part-time member of staff. It is led by a Children’s Service Manager supported by a Functional Skills tutor and a Project Worker, who provides the ‘wraparound’ support for care leavers. There is an administrative assistant who works part-time. There is also a part-time Employer & Training Manager from the College who works for two days a week.

The Children’s Service Manager reports to Barnardo’s Head of Operations for London and the Midlands, as well as stakeholders across Barnardo’s London Region and Academy Partnership. There is a steering group representing all the stakeholders in the Academy which has been important for keeping the project on track. This has meant regular reporting mechanisms and improved communication and monitoring of performance of the activities taking place in the centre.

Challenges

The initial challenge was trying to make the building fit for purpose in a short period of time. A number of building issues included security, waste management, putting in office space, creating room for 1:1 meetings, and developing the dry-lining training area. A key difficulty was establishing and maintaining effective lines of communication between partners and building maintenance issues. This problem eased once roles and responsibilities were clearly delegated and work was undertaken to improve the Meadows Centre so that the dry-lining courses could take place.

The second challenge was that starting recruitment in January meant that the pool comprised long-term unemployed, those with additional learning needs and those that had either dropped out or not got onto courses in the preceding September. Young people entering the programme had low attainment in Maths and English due to poor education experience and unsupported learning difficulties such as autism as well as other issues such as mental health, addiction and debt. This meant they were a more challenging group but the pilot completion rate was deemed satisfactory given these issues. The two-week induction involves using various diagnostic tools that allow staff to identify the issues that will need to be tackled.

A further problem with recruitment was that there were insufficient numbers in the pilot when it was restricted to Lewisham residents. Hence, the opening up to other South East London residents, lowering the age of eligibility to 16 and including all NEET young people, not just care leavers. Working with 16-year-olds enabled closer collaboration with the Virtual Schools. Marketing literature and the outreach strategy have also been revised and improved.

A third challenge is the timing of the work placements because the dry-lining teams can only go in when other work has been completed. So, there can be delays which means that the timing of the placements needs to be flexible and early identification and engagement with employers is crucial.

A fourth challenge is being able to recruit and train mentors from among the employers offering work placements. An option is for Barnardos to recruit and train mentors so they can be supported and equipped to work with care leavers and require DBS checking to work with vulnerable young people. They may have company mentoring or coaching programmes but Building Hope mentoring will have its own structure that they will be asked to follow. It will prove difficult to build a good relationship between mentor and mentee over the short time of the placement. However, it will be useful to have mentors in place, if the young person subsequently becomes an apprentice or employee.

A fifth challenge was making sure that the technical tutors are meeting industry standards. Saint-Gobain trainers have been in to assess some of the work being undertaken. Tutors and young people have also been invited to attend the British Gypsum Academies where they can learn how to do ceilings (not available at The Meadows Centre).

Tips – do’s and don’ts

DO engage employers to make sure that they can shape the programme, to ensure it meets their needs, but also to provide quality control.
DO ensure that referral tools and induction and assessment processes provide sufficient information to help identify the issues facing each young person recruited to the programme.
DO make sure that all tools and equipment are on site before commencing the training programme.
DO make sure that all partners have a clear, written programme setting out roles, responsibilities and deadlines.
DO undertake regular reviews between trainee, employer and provider.
DO make sure that you have the ‘right’ staff who are able to work with challenging young people and who are sensitive to their needs, while remaining flexible.
DO factor in the need to provide funds to cover lunch money and travel costs.

Kier: Construction Industry Training and Work Experience

Kier: Construction Industry Training and Work Experience

Case Study 002

Kier: Construction Industry Training & Work Experience

Kier is working with employers in its supply chain, local authorities and charities to provide training and work experience for care leavers, ex-offenders and other under-represented groups in order to fill local, construction-industry skills gaps across the country.

Background

Kier is one of the largest employers in the UK working in the built environment, with regional offices throughout. Through their long-standing, social-value commitment, Kier supports disadvantaged people in seeking employment. Kier hopes to provide targeted, specialist support for care leavers through the Care Leavers’ Covenant.

As part of their Covenant commitment Kier, with their supply chain, will establish a training facility on large projects. These will provide a one-stop shop for the training and work experience of under-represented groups, including care leavers, in jobs within the built environment.

Partnership

In order to make the project work it has been important for Kier to build partnerships with a range of other organisations. The opportunities for employment and training at their site-based training facilities will be promoted to care leavers (and other target groups) and partners in a number of ways:

  • Job Centre Plus is a key partner in identifying anybody who might be looking for work in the construction specialisms.
  • CITB are ensuring that the training provided meets the needs of employers.
  • Local authorities who, through their care-leaving teams, will be able to make referrals to the programme.
  • Talent Match is an organisation that works with vulnerable people and they will help identify suitable candidates for the programme.
  • Spectra will provide a support package for care leavers on the programme which will include mentoring and other personal support.

The offer: Construction Industry Training & Work Experience

Kier aspires to provide opportunities for care-leavers from across the country to develop much-needed skills within our industry and providing them with a sustainable career. This will contribute to the Department for Work and Pensions’ target for training care leavers under the national Care Leaver Covenant strategy.

Training for successful applicants will last for three to four weeks and it will include employer-recognised qualifications, e.g. the CSCS card training (essential health-and-safety qualification allowing access to building sites), Manual Handling, etc. dependent on the careers they are developing into. They will also undertake sessions on personal development and employability skills. Training will be delivered by a number of carefully selected providers. The work-experience element, for one or two weeks, will follow the training. Participating employers (Kier and its supply chain) will guarantee interviews for participants who acquire these essential qualifications through successfully completing the training.

Project Management

The training facility will be managed by Kier, working with local partners and stakeholders.

Challenges

It is important to ensure that there is consistency in how the project is endeavouring to recruit people from various places and from various partner organisations. An Expression of Interest Form has been developed to be completed at the Job Centre or with other partners. This will provide a standard process for each individual interested in registering for the programme and it also sets out a clear process for candidates to follow.

A second challenge is that projects can be subject to delays and shifts in timetables, with unpredictable elements such as changing design or planning permission. To ensure enough opportunities for care leavers, a number of sites within a region will be engaged on the project. This will ensure that there are sufficient work-experience placements available as and when they are required.

Tips

DO make sure that you work within the existing infrastructure so that you are not trying to ‘reinvent the wheel’ – build partnerships with local stakeholders.