Career kickstart for Bromford customers
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Bromford, a leading supplier of affordable housing based in the Midlands, has recruited ten people in the second phase of its Opportunities 4 Employment (O4E) scheme. The successful candidates are Bromford customers who will gain experience and learn new skills whilst being supported to develop personal and employability skills in the workplace.
Last year was the first time that the scheme was rolled out with ten Bromford customers successfully completing six-month paid work placements which resulted in five two-year apprenticeships and three extended placements.
Sarah Terry, Customer Development Manager at Bromford, said: "We believe in our customers' potential and feel we are ideally placed to provide opportunities to help them from unemployment into work and be the best they can be. There are thousands out of work who are desperate to get a job. They may lack confidence and skills but when given the chance they don't just survive the work experience but actually thrive in it.
"We are delighted that we have taken on ten more individuals into O4E this year. Those who do really well can apply for our apprenticeships or existing jobs and for any that might not stay with us, they will gain valuable employment experience and work skills that employers want so it's a win-win situation.
"Our aim is to scale up the programme to reach even more customers and help employers fill their vacancies with local 'job ready' people. If you're an employer who would like to be involved in the scheme please get in touch with us."
2013 O4E Case Studies
Chai Podins, aged 27 from Wolverhampton, was in and out of short-term work with no real prospects for almost a decade. Having left school without qualifications after falling in with a bad crowd, he had gone on to college and gained certificates in business administration and door supervision but wanted to achieve more.
Under O4E he is working as assistant to Bromford's innovation coach. Chai says: "When I came to Bromford I thought 'wow' this is me. I am learning new things and getting more confidence. My life's completely different now. I'm doing something I really like and can see a change in myself every day. I go home with positive things to say. I was lost for the past ten years but I've found myself and for the first time in my life I can look forward with real ambition."
Tracey Smart, aged 46 from Lichfield, worked for 27 years in social services before becoming ill for two years and being diagnosed with ME. Once a happy, sociable person she lost confidence and couldn't face leaving the house. She says: "I was having an horrendous time and had no support from my work. I simply couldn't function.
"When the O4E opportunity came up, I decided to give it a go and am now very proud to say that I am an assistant administrator providing support to our Staffordshire Neighbourhood team. I feel I've got my life back and can honestly say I've never worked anywhere like Bromford where there is so much support. I'm back to my old self so watch out world!"
Dan Morgan, is aged 37 and lives in a small Cotswold village outside Cirencester. He served in the army for 12 years within an infantry regiment, which gave him the opportunity to travel and learn many skills, one of which is languages, and he is fluent in Arabic and Farsi. After leaving the armed forces he stayed in the Middle East and ran a security company. When the job ended due to the global economic crisis, Dan and his wife came back to the UK and started a family - they are expecting their second child at the end of April.
Dan says: "I was lucky enough to secure my position with Bromford as a Youth Development Worker. Time with Bromford has been rewarding with plenty of training opportunities. It is a company that invests in its employees and working in social housing also gives a degree of satisfaction that you are helping a community."
Charlotte Holder, aged 40 from Lichfield had lost her confidence having taken time out of work to raise her family after previously working as a child minder. Through Connect, Bromford's online social networking site for jobs and skills, she was made aware of opportunities and attended a couple of work clubs. She is now working as an investment planning administration assistant and says: "O4E has given me confidence and opportunities. Bromford is such a good work environment as everyone wants to help. It encourages you to be a better person in a better place."
Tom Lawson, aged 19 from Cannock, was constantly looking for work in accounts after completing a college course at the end of June last year. Despite all his efforts he only had one interview so O4E has, he says, "allowed me to get my foot in the door into a career I have been chasing after for a while."
Tom now works in accounts in the asset management team. Tom says: "This allows me to get some valuable experience at a company the size of Bromford which is needed for the career path that I am after. I have also developed general employability skills which I could pretty much take into any other job: communication, organisation and time-keeping skills. In all honesty, if it weren't for this opportunity I'm not sure what I would be doing now, whether I would be in work or not and whether the work I would have got would have contributed to the career in accounts that I want."
Linda Bains, aged 48 from Walsall, had been a family carer all her life. She had gained a retail NVQ but then broke her foot and it was when she was at home recovering that she came across O4E on the Bromford website. She immediately applied and within days was invited to the assessment day which she attended on crutches! She is now retail assistant at a Bromford scheme for customers over 55 with visual impairment and is putting all her energies into refurbishing the on-site shop. She says: "I am learning so much every day. In the past I was told what to do but now I take responsibility. At first I was asking lots of questions but I feel more confident and that I am personally making a difference."
Zane Ratcliffe, aged 24 from Wolverhampton, had been unsuccessful the first time he had applied for the O4E scheme last year. His confidence was at an all time low, made worse by personal problems he was faced with. Things have now turned around for him as he persisted and got onto the scheme this year. "I'm evidence that if at first you don't succeed, try again!" he says. Zane made the most of other help from Bromford's work clubs in the interim and began volunteering with the Co-Op which turned into a full-time job. However, he says: "Even though I had a job, I knew I really wanted an office job and am now a finance officer at Bromford. It's a great opportunity and everyone here is so friendly. My confidence is back and I am in a much happier place."
Damian Brown, aged 19 from Wolverhampton, had been on an apprenticeship where he had gained an NVQ in business administration and O4E came at the perfect time as the course ended. He now works in Bromford's portfolio team in asset management and says: "This is such an amazing opportunity where I am gaining experience. It's great to work and to get an understanding about what you want to do. You can try different things here and I'm happy to be earning money too!"
Terry Barron, aged 24 from Cirencester, came to work with Bromford's investment and asset management team based in Cirencester last summer. Terry is a plasterer and general tradesman and had been struggling to find work locally. Terry worked with the asset team for some months before offering his services to help Bromford's repairs teams when they were busy. Terry's qualifications along with his dedication and hard work have meant that he has been able to become a valuable member of the team. Terry told us: "All I want is a chance to work and show people what I can do. I can turn my hand to most things but my passion is being out and about and getting my hands dirty. Bromford has given me chance to show what I can do and I'm really grateful."
Gareth Boston, aged 25 from Shenstone near Lichfield, had been struggling to find work for nearly five years. He had undertaken some home learning to keep his skills up to date but his confidence was low. Gareth is now working with Bromford's electrical surveying team based at Lichfield and can't believe his luck. He says: "I didn't think I was employable. You start to think that no-one will want you and the longer it goes on the harder it becomes. Being unemployed was tough and I am glad Bromford has given me a chance because I feel I have a purpose in life now and it feels good to work. I really enjoyed the assessment day and it didn't feel like an interview, I was just myself and it seemed to work. Everyone here is so nice and they just want to help me improve."