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Learning, Achievement and Employment Programme (LEAP) Providing Life Changing Opportunities
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Hit hard by the recession and with over 12,000 people across the city claiming job seekers allowance our Learning Employment Achievement Programme is transforming the way we support unemployed tenants and recruit to our organisation.
With high unemployment and welfare reforms on the horizon, we launched LEAP in 2012 to help unemployed tenants and their families into work. LEAP is about making tenants part of our business – supporting them in accessing further training or offering them an eight week work experience placement.
We’ve helped eighty unemployed tenants so far and that s just the start.
“I framed my first payslip and it’s a matter of pride knowing that I can now pay my own rent” – tenant and LEAP apprentice, Michelle Sawyer.
Since 2012, award-winning LEAP has taken 80 tenants under its wings; 16 have secured twelve-month paid apprenticeships while six have secured full-time jobs.
One tenant, Adam Dewitt-Bukater joined LEAP last year. He’s now a full-time member of our IT team:
“I heard about LEAP and jumped at the opportunity. I’m not sure where I’d be right now without Wolverhampton Homes…thanks to them I have new goals and chance to have a brighter future.”
LEAP isn’t a programme solely designed by us – we gave tenants control – it was designed by them too.
Thanks to their suggestions and ideas we created three key-stages to LEAP:
1. Pre-employment skills ranging from gaining qualifications to preparing for work skills
2. An eight-week expenses-only work experience placement
3. A twelve-month paid apprenticeship and chances to study for an NVQ.
If tenants don’t meet the standard their journey doesn’t end there – We provide skills and qualifications to ease them into stage two. Following the apprenticeship, tenants have the opportunity to join our staff pool and apply for vacancies.[/one_half_last]
Today LEAP is revelling in its success – however the journey hasn’t been easy.
Wolverhampton has double the national average of adults without qualifications – We underestimated the number of interests from tenants that would fall into this category and would need support to get ready for work. This put us in a position where we didn’t have the resources or skills to support demand – We wanted to deliver what we’d promised.
So we trained various staff members to become mentors/coaches, we provided confidence building, numerical, verbal and writing skills training and even worked with partner-agencies to provide continuous development.
Seeing our tenants desperately trying to find work inspired us to work together to provide life-changing opportunities. Our tenants’ positive response and ideas inspired us to grasp the opportunity with two hands and give something back to our city.
It doesn’t stop here – we’ve teamed up with the TUC to pledge our commitment to provide quality support and apprenticeships, increased employee engagement, enhanced our reputation in the housing sector and the city and also reduced recruitment time/costs and improved our succession planning – we’ve already inspired other housing organisations across the UK to develop a similar programme.[/one_half_last]
Director of Housing