Each year Greater Manchester Housing Providers help around 2,000 residents across GM back in to work. Through our members’ ambitious building programmes, training initiatives and apprenticeship schemes, along with our trailblazing Athena Partnership, we provide a vital link helping people in Greater Manchester communities back in to work. Here we shine a spotlight on the work of one of GMHPs newest members Jigsaw Group.
Jigsaw Group is committed to helping residents within their neighbourhoods back into work, and this spans across the entire Greater Manchester area, supporting the GMHP Ambition to Deliver campaign. With around 34,000 homes across the North West and East Midlands, Jigsaw Group is one of the largest housing associations in England.
In Tameside, Greater Manchester, Jigsaw Group run weekly work clubs to help residents improve job seeking and employment prospects. The work clubs offer free computers and internet access, use of ‘Find a Job’ and ‘My Work Search’ websites and free use of a telephone. The Community Development team runs the work clubs and is on hand to help with completing application forms, providing practice interview scenarios as well as access to health and wellbeing advice.
Since April 2018, the work clubs have seen great success and supported 20 customers into paid employment and in addition to this a number of customers have secured volunteering roles.
Following on from the success of this, Jigsaw Group has recently launched another work club in Tameside to further target the job seekers in Hyde and the surrounding area. This intervention was decided after consulting the neighbourhood plans, talking with residents and Job Centre Plus staff to find out what employment support they would like to have which was not already available in the area.
In addition to the work clubs, Jigsaw Group also provides Aim 4 Work employability skills training. The course is designed to improve people’s confidence, self-esteem and enhance their job-seeking to secure paid employment. The course is run in five-week blocks.
The Community Development team work in partnership with Healthy Minds Tameside and Glossop to design and deliver the two hour weekly workshops covering a variety of topics including positive mindset, understanding your skills, CV writing, how to complete application forms and successful job interview techniques.
The course aims to be an interactive and fun learning experience, achieved by employing interactive group activities through the use of smart phones and tablets. Learners are encouraged to take part in team quizzes to test their knowledge and reinforce their understanding of the topics covered each week.
So far 12 people have completed the training and all the learners were recruited with referrals from New Charter Homes Skills for Employment work placements, Threshold Housing, Tameside Adult and Community Education, Job Centre Plus and work clubs.
Learner Tom commented: “The trainers were very friendly and welcoming which helped me overcome my anxiety around attending the course. I now have more knowledge on the subjects and knowing what to expect, I can approach job seeking with more motivation and confidence.”
Resident Amel said: “Friendly instructors, easy to follow and encouraging for participation. I found the course useful to look at my skills even in my daily life as a mum. I feel the skills I have learned will help improve my job seeking prospects.”
The Community Development team at Jigsaw Group is now looking to get the training officially accredited to help enhance its credibility for participants.