Letchworth housing association takes action to help unemployed

Howard cottage mentor Andy King (r) with Stephen Hedge

Howard cottage mentor Andy King (r) with Stephen Hedge - Credit: Archant

A housing association is taking action to help unemployed residents.

Howard Cottage Housing Association and North Hertfordshire Homes, both which have headquarters in Letchworth GC, having joined forces with Stevenage Borough Council to form the North and Mid Herts Training Consortium – providing job seeking residents with new skills and work opportunities.

Jon Thurlow, resident involvement officer at Howard Cottage, said: “With £40,000 of funding from the Department of Work and Pensions in the bag, the consortium has provided two three-week construction skills courses in Stevenage, delivered by John Laing Training. So far, 26 people have completed the course and gained a BTEC Level 1 qualification in construction skills, along with the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card – a vital form of identity and proof of competence to carry out work on a construction site.”

The scheme, which also involves Welwyn Hatfield Community Housing Trust and Guiness South which operates across the east of England.

One Howard Cottage resident who has already benefited is Steven Hedge. The 22-year-old, who lives in Stotfold, said: “I’ve been out of work since December 2012 so it felt great to be given the chance to learn new skills. The course taught us the basics of plumbing, electrics and carpentry, and how to use tools correctly. I learned a lot about health and safety too, and got my CSCS card.

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“Howard Cottage pulled out all the stops to get me a work placement with its maintenance team. My mentor, Andy King, has taught me so much about plumbing over the last few weeks – it’s been a big confidence booster. After I complete my placement, I’m going to get a plumbing apprenticeship.”

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