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New employment and skills network to launch in South West England

Ian Simpson

Ian Simpson

A new employment and skills network is to be launched in the South West following a successful Communities that Work regional meeting at the end of June.

Six South West-based Communities that Work members and the National Housing Federation met in Bristol on 24th June to discuss employment opportunities for housing association customers.

The invitation was extended to other Federation members and representatives from Devon & Cornwall Housing and Westward Housing attended.

The meeting discussed the customer and business development opportunities provided by the various partnerships Communities that Work is involved in, including with ESRA member organisations. We also disseminated and discussed the recent meeting with Emma Reynolds MP, Shadow Housing Minister.

It became clear at the meeting that the need for a regional group who could form a forum to explore opportunities and share best practice would be of huge benefit to housing associations and their residents.

Jenny Allen, External Affairs Manager for the Federation said; “Housing associations are well placed to support their tenants into employment, training and education programmes. They are also key partners in creating jobs, are often major employers and have established supply chains which can provide employment opportunities.

“The Federation supports Communities that Work’s work to provide practical solutions for housing and employment services to work together.

Following very productive discussions at this meeting the Federation will be working with our members, and Communities that Work, to set up a south west employment and skills network. We hope that this will provide a forum for local discussions and the sharing of best practice.”

Ian Simpson, Head of Access to Work at Guinness said: ‘The meeting was a real success. Guinness wants to learn more about how we should develop our access to work offer by working in partnership with those housing associations that are most active in this area.

“Housing associations in the South West are engaged in a diverse range of access to work activity. It is clear that Communities that Work members including GreenSquare, Sovereign, Aster, Knightstone and Spectrum are taking a lead and also that sharing best practice in measurement, reporting and external communications is a priority for us all.”

Details on the new forum and how to join can be sought from Jenny Allen of Ian Simpson.

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