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Budget helps Bromford help its customers become colleagues

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Bromford welcomes this year's budget measures supporting working families and those looking for work, and helping Bromford help its customers become colleagues.

As the Office for Budgetary Responsibility forecasts a further one million jobs to be created over the next five years alongside a number of announcements supporting business growth and subsequently job creation, this is positive news for Bromford's work programmes.

Bromford, one of the UK's leading affordable housing providers, is opening up work opportunities to its customers, the majority of whom are unemployed, with its Opportunities for Employment (O4E)scheme.

O4E provides customers with six months work experience and the opportunity to gain new skills in the housing sector which can lead to apprenticeships and jobs across the organisation. Ten customers commenced placements across the business early this year

James Walsh, Employment and Skills Manager at Bromford, said: "We believe that our customers have real potential so any support from the government which assists them to make positive steps to enter employment can only be welcome. We aim to have helped up to 200 customers to become colleagues by 2016."

Case studies

Marie Church is 25 and lives in Wolverhampton. After gaining two A-levels and good work experience, she became pregnant at 20 and had to go onto benefits. After having her son, Harvey, she applied continuously for work without success. She said: "It is so demoralising. You don't get any feedback and you feel as if you're labelled as lazy being out of work, though you are doing everything you can to get a job.

She applied to join Bromford's O4E programme at the end of last year and now works as a PA there. Her confidence has grown and she summarised: "Before, I felt like I was a nobody - now I'm a somebody again."

Sonja Horton is aged 22 and also from Wolverhampton. She had worked as a hairdresser but suffered postnatal depression which led to a breakdown after the birth of her daughter, Courtney, now aged two. She said: "When I heard about O4E I didn't think it was real - I always thought you needed a degree to work in an office"

She has been working at Bromford as an HR administrator since January this year and her health has improved greatly. She concluded: "I didn't think that work could have such an impact but I have a real spring in my step now and O4E has completely changed my life. I have moved house and am getting married in June."

More O4E case studies available on request.