Contributor Andy Fisher talks Wolverhampton Homes and their new LEAP initiative to help tenants and residents “skill up” ready to get back into the work place:
Firstly, for the regular readers, you will be aware that this is the first post of mine for several weeks due to having a hectic diary at the moment.
I recently was invited to attend this seasonâ€™s round of Wolverhampton Homes Get Togetherâ€™s and attended the first one at Low Hill Community Centre.
Itâ€™s the first time that I have attended a Get Together and so it was a whole new experience. What I found interesting at this session was the project that was being launched to assist unemployed tenants or leaseholders get back into the workplace.
The project is called LEAP â€“ Learning, Employment Achievement Programme. The basis which has encouraged Wolverhampton Homes to launch this scheme is the upcoming Welfare Reform and the fact that as a major organisation of the city they are very conscious of the effect this will have on tenants who are on low incomes as a family unit or on benefits.
LEAP is a fantastic opportunity to get help, advise and training with the possibility of an apprenticeship for 10 months which could potential result in a position being offered.
To begin with you would have to make an expression of interest by filling out the interest form at one of the get togethers or email your interest to LEAP@wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk. You will be then contacted by the LEAP team who will invite you to a taster session if you are a suitable applicant. Once you have been to a taster session, if you are still interested and suitable you would be invited to a â€œinformalâ€ style interview to find out more about you and what area you would be interested in training.
If accepted you would be asked to work for 8 weeks with Wolverhampton Homes or one of their partner agencies / suppliers. During this 8 weeks period it will be treated in the same way being at work would in the sense that they expect the same standards and for all persons accepted to turn up on time and put 110% effort in. This period would be voluntary and Wolverhampton Homes will pay reasonable expenses to assist. It is thought that during this time, if a benefit claimant you would still be entitled to your benefits. After the 8 weeks if you have been successful you may be offered an apprenticeship for 10 months.
Should any applicant not get beyond the initial 8 weeks they would be given the assistance with skills for new work in the format of interview skills obtained throughout the process and an updated CV aswell as a reference from a reputable employer. These would also be given at the end of the apprenticeship if offered one. These are in the hope that all persons who have been involved within the scheme could become employable and successful in securing a job.
Wolverhampton Homes and their partners are doing this in addition to their normal role as a Landlord / management agent.
The number of training places available are limited when considering the volume of persons within the city of working age who are unemployed and/or claiming benefits. It is estimated that there is more than 12400 people claiming job seekers benefit within the city. Wolverhampton as a city is one of the worst in the country for the percentage of population which are of working age and unemployed and are one of the worst within the Black Country. Wolverhamptonâ€™s unemployment percentage is 8.4% which against the national average of 5.4% and Dudleyâ€™s percentage of 4.9% shows that we have a poor turnout.
It is hoped that LEAP will assist in reducing this percentage and reducing the impact the Welfare Reform and Tax Credit changes will have on the majority of the population.
I hope some people will be interested in finding out more about the programme. If so, contact Wolverhampton Homes on 01902 556789, visit your one stop shop or contact via email at: LEAP@wolverhamptonhomes.org.uk