Royal recognition for Procure Plus after over 2,500 people helped into long-term employment

Royal recognition for Procure Plus after over 2,500 people helped into long-term employment

Procure Plus Holdings has been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Enterprise after helping thousands of people from disadvantaged communities into sustainable, meaningful employment.

The company specialises in the procurement of goods and services for the social housing sector, helping providers secure cash savings of between 10% and 20% with no reduction in quality or service. The surpluses generated from the procurement business are used to train and develop people who find themselves distanced from the employment market, using a range of training and support mechanisms, and working with local communities. This pioneering work has supported 2,534 people into sustainable employment over the last five years, with 90% of these beneficiaries having significant barriers to the labour market.

In order to ensure employment is truly sustainable, ongoing in-work support is provided for both candidates and employers, leading to over 87% of candidates remaining in work for longer than six months.

While Procure Plus Holdings supports many communities which are disadvantaged, its support of ex-offenders is especially exemplary. When PPH created OSCO Homes as a subsidiary company to deliver affordable housing using offsite construction methods, it also saw the opportunity to integrate social value in its business model to the benefit of the individual, company and community.

It did this by basing its first factory inside HMP Hindley, employing offenders serving custodial sentences. On release, prisoners are guaranteed roles within OSCO or its supply chain and are provided with access to a range of personal support to ensure they succeed on the outside. This has resulted in reoffending rates at OSCO of just 6%, compared to rates of up to 59% in the wider prison population on release.

Gwen Beeken, Managing Director of Procure Plus said: “I am incredibly proud that we have been awarded a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Promoting Opportunity by Her Majesty The Queen.

“Procure Plus is a business with a commercial head and a social heart. To be recognised by the most prestigious business awards in the UK is a huge honour, and one that I share with our employees, clients and everyone who we were able to help into work.”

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the most prestigious awards for UK business — often thought of as a ‘knighthood for business’ — with Her Majesty The Queen personally approving the winners. They recognise and encourage outstanding achievements in the fields of Innovation, International Trade, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity (through social mobility).

225 UK businesses have been given awards this year but Procure Plus Holdings is one of just 9 to win in the Promoting Opportunity category.

Partnering for Success
First Choice Homes Oldham — Neo Property Solutions — Procure Plus Holdings
Neo Property Solutions has recently commenced delivery of its first contract with Procure Plus, delivering fire safety measures to tower blocks for First Choice Homes in Oldham. As well as managing delivery of the practical elements of the contract, Procure Plus also works with First Choice Homes and Neo Property Solutions to develop and agree social value activities as part of the contract delivery. Neo, First Choice Homes and Procure Plus are all committed to ensuring good quality employment is available to local people, and so Neo agreed to provide two full time paid employment with training opportunities to candidates referred by First Choice Homes in partnership with Procure Plus.

Martin is a tenant of First Choice Homes living in one of the tower blocks in which Neo is delivering Fire Prevention works. Martin was an asylum seeker when he first came to the UK, which resulted in 10 years of him living through precarious housing and employment situations. Finally, Martin was offered a tenancy with First Choice Homes, and it was through their in-house employability coaches that he heard about this opportunity for employment.

First Choice Homes supported Martin to improve his English, develop his CV and understand his rights and responsibilities as an employee. The partnership with Procure Plus meant that, once the opportunities with Neo Property Services had been agreed, Martin was able to be referred to the opportunities available, armed with the skills and knowledge he needed to be able to be successful at interview.

In September 2021, following his interview, Martin was employed as a Trainee Fire Stopper. Procure Plus has continued to support Martin and Neo, and in March 2022 Martin completed his six month probationary period and his contract was confirmed as permanent. He continues to do well, and is undertaking formal training to ensure he can progress in his new career and sustain his own employment. His Site Manager and colleagues have nothing but praise for Martin’s commitment to his work.

Martin said: “I am tremendously grateful for all the support I have been given by First Choice Homes, and for the opportunity offered by Neo in partnership with Procure Plus. Without this help I wouldn’t have been able to get a good job. I hope to stay with Neo for a long time, and one day to become a manager.”

Rebecca O’Gorman, Employment Support Advisor at First Choice Homes commented: “Martin is a lovely man and engaged with me and the team really well. I was delighted that the Procure Plus contract with Neo resulted in real jobs being created, and thrilled for Martin when he was offered the opportunity. It’s wonderful to see him progressing in a stable job.”

Marc Crook, Operations Manager for Neo said: “Martin never stops smiling and never stops working, when he has finished a task he will look for something else to do. I’m impressed at the quality of candidates referred by Procure Plus and First Choice Homes, and at Neo we are thrilled to be able to work with partners who support us in delivering meaningful social value to communities in which we work.”

Ann-Marie English, Senior Project Assurance Manager, Procure Plus commented: “Martin is a very hardworking and committed young man — his story shows what can be achieved by working in partnership for the benefit of local communities.”

Header image: Martin is a tenant of First Choice Homes living in one of the tower blocks in which Neo is delivering Fire Prevention works, where he has been employed as a Trainee Fire Stopper.

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