We are pleased to announce that our Aspire to Work is a life-changing service offering employability support to Aspire Housing tenants is a finalist in the Excellence in Employment, Skills and Training Award over 10,000. We were one of the first housing associations to offer this service and the results are immense. Customers gain employment, no longer rely on benefits, and notice increased levels of confidence, self-esteem, ambition and wellbeing.
It is a tailored customer training scheme that prepares our tenants with the skills they need for sustainable employment, whilst offering vital housing and wellbeing support. We aim to not only improve the quality of life for customers, but to supply them with the tools to manage this independently.
Our group training arm, PM Training, delivers the service. The IAG-qualified Employment and Skills team supports around 400 Aspire customers annually. Over 60% positively progress and 35% progress to employment – of these, 65% find sustained employment. All members of the team are experienced and qualified guidance practitioners with at least a level 4 NVQ in IAG, with some colleagues qualified at level 6 and 7.
Tailored training includes everything from employability workshops to accredited qualifications, including NVQs, CSCS cards, HGV driving and anything that equips customers to get into work. We access a £10k barriers fund through Realise charity, to provide training for customers.
The service is available to anybody who lives in an Aspire property; including those who are already employed but hope to change career. Customers are referred by the Housing team and we prioritise those who claim Universal Credit, are recently unemployed, or are affected by the benefit cap.
We then offer a variety of routes and options to increase the customer’s chances of finding work. We have an online portal where customers can access job searches, CV help, job alerts and coaching videos. We also encourage customers to attend our employment hub, where we offer supported job searches, interview advice, and support with self-employment.
Throughout this process, our Housing team are on hand to offer any required support to customers. This can include help with benefits, money advice and debt management, and assistance with accommodation. We also have access to a range of voluntary sector providers who can provide additional support to our customers where necessary. These include: Genius Within, Royal Association for Deaf People, Addaction, One Recovery and Mencap.