South Lakes

Partnership Helps Cumbrians Achieve a Brighter Future

A group of Cumbrians are starting 2014 on a high note after securing employment opportunities with local construction contractors in Barrow and Ulverston.

Working together, social housing landlord, South Lakes Housing and local procurement group, Cumbria Housing Partners have helped five South Lakes residents secure apprenticeships or permanent jobs in a variety of trades, from plumbing to joinery.

Four of the new starters have gained roles with contractors, Bullocks, Keepmoat and Esh Property Services, which are employed via Cumbria Housing Partners to do repairs and maintenance on South Lakes Housing’s homes. The fifth, from Ulverston, is working for AB Mitchell – a contractor working on the homes of neighbouring landlord, Barrow Borough Council.

For every £1m worth of work channelled through Cumbria Housing Partners, each contractor commits to taking on two local employees.

Apprentice joiner, Susan Fox, said: “I went on the pre-employment course at Furness College and it gave me the skills and confidence I needed to get my foot on the ladder. The apprenticeship will give me a great start for a lifelong career in the trade.”

As well as matching potential apprentices to employers, Cumbria Housing Partners has supported the new recruits by providing interview skills training, mentoring, financial support via bursaries, and even the actual tools for the job.

Lesley Dixon, Cumbria Housing Partners’ Director, said: “Through the programme, we’ve provided training and job opportunities for those who may have been finding it difficult to gain employment. In fact, four of our former apprentices have just secured permanent work with local companies.

“This is a great example of how by working together, Cumbria Housing Partners and local social landlords can really make a difference to lives and futures of people in our community.”

Apprenticeships work for the businesses involved too as Keith Wilson, MD of Keith Wilson Electricians in Barrow, explains: “While we weren’t required to take on additional staff as part of our contract, apprentices are a fantastic addition to our business and we like to do our bit for Barrow. Our apprentices are all keen to learn, so we’re happy to teach them the skills they need to get onto the career ladder.

“Some people view apprentices as a potential drain on their business, however we find their enthusiasm and determination to succeed really refreshing. Their dedication to our company is helping us achieve a 100% customer satisfaction rate.”