Housing is more than just rents and repairs
Housing organisations today need to adopt a more holistic approach to service delivery – gone are the days of simply collecting the rents and carrying out repairs. Welfare reform means that now more than ever, we need to have a hand in supporting residents to find work, as Jo Miller, employability manager from Nottingham City Homes, explains.
At Nottingham City Homes, we’re big believers in offering training too – the bottom line being that secure jobs that pay a decent wage are often the best way for people to improve their quality of life (and sustain their tenancy into the bargain).
Whether they’re in work or training, or they’re looking for a job or to expand their skill base, our residents can access a range of support through our Tenant Academy and our Employability programme. The Tenant Academy is free to all residents as well as to members of the community groups that support them, and it’s going from strength to strength, with almost 1,600 residents benefitting from a course last year. Courses cover everything from face painting to food hygiene, and from event management to bookkeeping; last year, more than 100 residents successfully completed accredited and industry recognised qualifications in emergency first aid, paediatric first aid, and food safety.
Dovetailing nicely with the Academy is our Employability programme, which helps unemployed residents with one-to-one employment support that’s tailored to individual needs. The team helps residents to update their CV as well as signposting them to local provision and helping them apply for jobs via outreach sessions at housing offices across the city.
They also deliver employability feeder programmes that link directly into our recruitment process- and an area of huge success with this is our grass-roots Women in Construction (WiC) programme. WiC aims to change perceptions of construction and promote it as a credible and vibrant female career choice by targeting, attracting and recruiting women through practical monthly taster workshops as well as through presentations in schools and colleges, and to community groups. So far this year, over 100 women have taken part in taster workshops, and have fed back an average of 10/10 for satisfaction – and on top of that, five out of the 10 trades apprentices we’ve recruited this year have been women who have participated in a WiC workshop.
Employing local people through apprenticeships is massively important to us too - we currently have over 79 apprenticeships running across the organisation, covering customer services, construction, housing management and caretaking. On top of that, 38 existing employees have started an apprenticeship this year, including housing apprenticeships at levels two, three and four, advanced apprenticeships in leadership and management, and business admin apprenticeships.
We’ll continue to build on our successes in training and employability, and we look forward to growing our own workforce from our talented and capable pool of residents, as well as supporting residents into jobs across the city that will contribute to improving the quality of life for them, and for everyone who lives or works in Nottingham, or who visits the city.