A new Skills Centre set to open after the summer in Stockbridge Village, will offer local young people finding school difficult the chance to gain construction qualifications and hands on experience.
ForHousing’s School Links project will see the landlord team up with local schools and colleges to offer students at key stage 4 multi-skilled qualifications in construction.
With the support of the Community Voice group — which is made up of local people who take decisions and help shape services in the area — the former ForHousing office in Stockbridge Village will become home to a new Skills Centre.
The centre will offer courses including bricklaying, tiling and joinery — providing a foundation for a future in the trades.
The launch, which is being planned by the landlord in partnership with Stockbridge Village tenants, is due to take place in September. It follows on from the success of ForHousing’s existing School Links project at its Skills Centre in Salford.
The Skills Centre in Salford ran more than 550 construction classes for school pupils last year throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and 27 students qualified. In addition, 16 (59%) students from last year’s cohort have moved on into education, employment or training.
Students like Kade Dardis (pictured above and below), aged 16 from Little Hulton in Salford took part in the programme. He was involved in anti-social behaviour, but after completing Level 1 in Multi Trade Construction Activities he has taken up an Electrical Apprenticeship with award winning national property services firm Liberty.
This opportunity is helping him turn his life around. Talking about the School Links programme at the Skills Centre, Kade, who is now a mentor to other students said: “In my opinion it’s the best thing for kids like me who had trouble with school because it’s designed just for us and helps us develop in all sorts of skills such as brickwork, tiling, joinery and more.
“But there’s more to it than that. The people at the Skills Centre are the reason I have a job today and I’m very grateful for the opportunity I have been given.”
Debbie Attwood, Group Director of People at ForHousing said: “We want to make more things possible for more people, so it’s great news that we are able to repurpose our former office in Stockbridge Village to create a brand new Skills Centre for Knowsley.
“School Links has been a great success in Salford and we’re looking forward to welcoming young people in Knowsley who are struggling in mainstream education to our new Skills Centre in Stockbridge Village after the summer.
“Students will gain knowledge of the working world and hands-on construction experience that will stand them in good stead and could help them secure an apprenticeship in the future, just like Kade.”
Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We want to ensure our children and young people have access to a range of support that will help them to start out on their career path. The Skills Centre is a very welcome addition to Knowsley, providing our young people with the chance to gain valuable experience and qualifications in the construction trade which will ultimately help them to secure future employment too.”
ForHousing’s School Links programme is just one of a number of initiatives the landlord offers through its Bright Futures scheme to fuel people’s potential through employment and training opportunities.
In the past year alone, Bright Futures has helped 24 people to get into work or secure an apprenticeship, provided 26 work experience opportunities, supported 44 people to gain qualifications and helped 18 new businesses launch.
From September, the Stockbridge Village office will reopen as ForHousing’s new Skills Centre, making more things possible for Knowsley’s young people.
There are lots of easy ways for tenants to get in touch with local staff through the My Account + app, via the ForHousing website, by telephone or email. They can book a face-to-face appointment at times and in places to suit them — either in their home, within the community or via video call.
Residents can also drop-in and see a member of staff at the Community Hub — next to Subway — between 9am and 12 noon each week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.