A programme run by NCH to get previously unemployed council house residents into jobs has supported over 500 unemployed residents and helped 170 into employment – 21 of them working for NCH over the past four years.
As the largest provider of social housing in the East Midlands, NCH manages around 27,000 homes in some of the most disadvantaged, culturally diverse and economically challenged areas of Nottingham. Social housing tenants across the UK are more likely to be unemployed than those who are owner occupiers or privately renting.
To combat this, NCH offers residents a range of employability and training initiatives that support them into work and create better lives for themselves, their families and their communities. They aim to give residents the best possible opportunities, to gain experience that will prepare them for employment, help them to progress in work, or support them to become self-employed.
One of the ways this is done is through an employability programme, which since its launch in 2015 has seen NCH engage with over 1200 residents. The main project ‘Next Steps’, which is done in partnership with Futures, has supported over 500 unemployed residents and helped 170 residents into employment. 21 of these have been employed by the housing association. NCH has also taken on 79 apprentices across the organisation this year.
The Next Steps project helps residents to update their CV, signpost them to local provision and helps them apply for jobs through community outreach sessions at housing offices across the city.
Natalie was always passionate about supporting her local community and first started working with NCH at her local Tenant and Resident Association. During a short spell of unemployment, she attended one of NCH’s Women in Construction (WiC) taster workshops. Natalie was so inspired by the workshop that she decided she wanted a career in construction.
After seeking support from NCH, Natalie decided to apply for their September intake of construction apprentices. Before her interview, Natalie then attended an Interview Skills workshop. This helped to increase her knowledge and prepared her for the selection process.
Natalie went on to be one of 15 successful candidates who were offered an apprenticeship with NCH. She is continuing her development by studying for her Level 2 Electrician apprenticeship qualification at Nottingham College.
She said: “I’m a huge advocate for Women in Construction and I’m really passionate about helping others to achieve the same as I have in terms of developing my career this way.”
This is all part of NCH’s new Employability Strategy, launched last month, which sees NCH working with the City Council and partners to tackle poverty and deprivation by getting more local people into good jobs.
Nick Murphy, Chief Executive at Nottingham City Homes, said: “We are committed to helping our residents into sustainable employment. These are challenging times for our residents, with welfare reforms and Universal Credit having significant impacts on those dependent on social security and affecting services that social housing tenants rely on.
Our clear objective is to see more Nottingham people in employment and fewer workless households. Our new Employability Strategy recognises the importance of helping provide pre-employment support to those who are not ‘job ready,’ to support people to find relevant work, to help them through the recruitment process and to ensure that they have the skills to secure and keep the job.”
Also on offer to residents are Tenant Academy courses, which range from Just Grow sessions promoting the growing and cooking of food across four community gardens, to a three-week Volunteer Champion training programme, as well as courses ranging from How to Start a Market Stall to Google Digital Garage training. The Tenant Academy has engaged with 881 people so far in 2018/2019 – double the previous year.
NCH also work with local schools. So far in 2018/19, they have worked with over 850 students across ten different schools, delivering 29 employability projects. Projects range from aspiration days to construction taster workshops, from interview skills courses to insight visits.