Skills programme drives ForViva into new markets

Skills for Employment is a new programme aimed at providing unemployed local people with the skills, confidence and experience they need to find long-term employment.

The programme marks another successful venture into the education and training market for ForViva, as the organisation looks to expand its offer to the community and ensure it has the resources and financial strength to deliver on its social mission.

ForViva secured funding to deliver the European Social Fund (ESF) and Skills Funding Agency project in 2016 through its partnership with the Athena consortium – a strategic alliance of 11 Greater Manchester housing associations that was set up to bid for public sector contracts.

The contract was a major milestone for the consortium, and was the first time that a training programme of this kind had been awarded to a group of housing associations in Greater Manchester.

As part of the delivery of the ESF Skills for Employment programme, ForViva provides eight-week placement opportunities to customers, ranging from business administration roles to labouring positions while also offering a qualification in Multi-Trade Construction Activities.

To be eligible, participants must be 18 years old, have a gap in their skills or a lack of experience that is preventing them from getting a job, or have other barriers to employment such as a disability, health issues or a criminal record.

The contract is managed by The Manchester Growth Company, a consortium of companies focused on growth in Manchester, which assesses people’s needs and refers them on to the most appropriate employer for them.

To date 57 people have benefited from a ESF Skills for Employment placement at ForViva, with 15 now in sustained employment. The team are now working hard to ensure in future every one of these placements will offer a qualification.

For every £1 invested in the programme, Skills for Employment delivers nearly £10 of social value through increased wellbeing of customers, savings on benefits, and contribution to the local economy.

This is not the first contract ForViva has won in partnership with the Athena consortium. Last year the Big Lottery Fund and European Social Fund’s Building Better Opportunities project awarded £9.7 million to Athena’s Motiv8 programme.

Motiv8 aims to improve the lives of vulnerable people aged 25 and over through education and training opportunities, improved health and wellbeing services, better financial help and confidence building initiatives.

ForViva group member City West Housing Trust cemented the group’s reputation for delivering first class training and education services, by securing a place on a new Salford City Council framework as the local authority changed the way it commissioned alternative training options.

City West is already the leading provider of Key Stage 4 alternative training in Salford, providing access to training for 14-16 year olds who are struggling with the classroom curriculum or have been excluded from school.

Securing contracts like ESF Skills for Employment increases ForViva’s financial capacity, creating revenue for the business and driving the long-term viability of the organisation.

In the first year this contract generated almost £25,000 which can be invested in local communities.

ForViva is aiming to build on its strong reputation in training to become an accredited provider to the housing sector, enabling more people into work, building more resilient communities and generating more income for the business.

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