Successful employability service celebrates significant milestone

Growing landlord Karbon Homes is celebrating five years of providing a free employability service to its residents.

The service, which has been operating for five years, provides a tailored one-to-one service and has supported 1,500 residents across County Durham, securing over 430 jobs.

Initially operating within the Derwentside area, the service extended its reach to Chester-le-Street in 2014 with support from NE Procurement and local Area Action Partnerships through Durham County Council.

The free service is available to residents living in Derwentside and Chester-le-Street, providing training and advice around developing their CV’s, job searching, training, access to funding and identifying employment opportunities.

One resident who has benefitted from the service and has successfully secured employment is Alex Malcolm, from Chester-le-Street who is working as a roofer for Teams Roofing based in Washington.

Alex, 25 was referred to the employability service from JobCentre Plus and Durham Works, part of Durham County Council and engaged with Karbon Homes to assist him in securing employment. They secured and funded a five-day training course with Durham Employment and Skills, to help him gain his National Certificate in Construction Health & Safety and also pass his Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card, which is required within the construction industry.

Alex also received support developing his CV and with interview coaching. The employability service can also provide additional financial support to both employers and the individual, as there can often be hidden costs providing barriers to employment. By working in partnership with Durham County Council, the employability service helped Adam with financial support to buy his uniform and tools to start his job and helped Teams Roofing to access wage subsidy grants for small businesses.

Alex said: “I didn't know there was so much support available for people who are unemployed. I was overwhelmed with how much help I got from the service, it was so supportive and really helpful. It definitely helped me get back into work.

“I initially joined the company as a labourer but have progressed which has boosted my confidence massively and has made me really want to learn more. My goal is to progress further and complete all my allocated training activities and hopefully in a couple of years, I will be qualified to step up to team leader.”

Suzanne Jobson, Financial Inclusion Manager from Karbon Homes, said: “This is a significant milestone for the service which has successfully engaged over 1,500 residents in the last five years. Our aim is to work with residents to identify the skills gap and match the opportunities that are available for them to go on and secure a career within their chosen field.

“By working in partnership, we can access funding and provide the necessary support to develop residents’ career prospects.”

Rod Brasington, Chief Executive of NE Procurement, said: "The service has helped a lot of people secure employment over the last five years and is continuing to help people in our local communities. We are delighted to support the organisation in this scheme and we wish the service all the success in the future."

Residents living in Chester-le-Street can arrange an appointment by contacting Alison Shann on 07825 724 635 or email alison.shann@durham.gov.uk

For residents living in the Derwentside area, please contact Michelle Graham on 01207 524 205 or email m.graham@derwentsidehomes.co.uk