We support people furthest from the job market in our local communities by providing training, work placements and a direct route into a job.
Our community employment programme is helping address socio-economic challenges that affect people living in our communities. Working closely with our industry partners and customers, we continue to fill significant skills gaps in construction, facilities management and customer service, supporting some of the most excluded groups in our society to find employment. These include people experiencing homelessness, young people, and individuals with offending backgrounds.
What we’ve achieved
Our community employment programme has continued to work well this year, even with the significant impact of several Covid-19 lockdowns. Our programmes have helped 121 individuals who are further from the job market into work, and supported an additional 852 people with employability skills, creating £1.7m worth of social value.
We have continued to support people who face barriers such as homelessness, long-term unemployment and leaving prison, and young people with no previous work experience. We’ve also expanded our wider support for our charity partners, to maximise their ability to engage local people. One example is Circle Collective based in Lewisham Shopping Centre, who help young people gain work experience and start their
careers. This year we’ve helped the charity move to a larger unit within our shopping centre to create a community hub and reach even more young people in need of support.
Social value created through our employment programme£1.7m
Number of people helped into employment121
Empowering young people
In Lewisham, our partnership with Circle Collective – a charity and social enterprise empowering young people through training and work experience – is just one example of how we’re creating value for communities and our customers. Circle Collective is based in our Lewisham shopping centre and consistently helps local people into roles with our brand partners in the centre, and with our own Head Office team. Our collaboration continues to deliver social value by helping those further from employment to access sustainable and exciting opportunities. During the Covid-19 pandemic, our employees have been supporting Circle Collective’s trainees through virtual careers sessions to help maintain their motivation and confidence.
We’re also supporting the Government’s Kickstart employment initiative, working with Circle Collective and our service partners in London. We're taking on a cohort of young people at risk of long-term unemployment as a result of Covid-19, helping them build work experience and
skills for their future.
Our prisons programme
We know that working with prisoners and ex-offenders creates significant social value for our communities. Getting people into productive and positive work significantly reduces the chances of re offending. For this reason, in 2018 we launched the UK’s first aerial window cleaning training academy at HMP Isis in South East London, in collaboration with our charity partner Bounce Back and our service partner Not Just Cleaning. The academy is helping to address a technical skills shortage, which helps to keep our buildings operating efficiently, while helping to turn around people’s lives through sustainable employment.
Despite Covid restrictions affecting delivery of our prisons programmes we’re continuing to work with our partners such as Bounce Back, who deliver construction and facilities management training in prisons and communities in London and Leeds. We also continue to work with Key4Life, a charity supporting some of the hardest-to-reach young offenders, and those at risk of offending, in Brixton, Camden and Shepherd’s Bush.
Volunteering with young prisoners to help them prepare for work after release has truly shaped my attitudes. Working to make sure they don’t reoffend when released is a side of the rehabilitation process that deserves more recognition."