Housing organisation and job centre join forces to help the unemployed

West North West homes Leeds (WNWhLs) is using new ways to help unemployed residents in Leeds get back into work.

As part of the first sector based work academy, WNWhLs is working in partnership with Job Centre Plus to provide pre-employment training and work experience around customer service in housing. The training and work experience will be followed by a guaranteed interview for a number of jobs at the end.

The sector based work academy is currently helping seven people who are currently unemployed to gain an insight into the world of housing and set them off on a successful career path within the sector.

West North West Works, a sub-brand of WNWhLs has coordinated placement opportunities with the other Leeds ALMOs, and Leeds City Council to maximise the experience. Leeds City College has also ben working with WNWhLs to provide support in completing job applications and customer service skills.

Trainee Ben Paterson who is currently working on the customer service desk for WNWhLS said:

“I’m a West North West homes tenant and working this side of the counter I now have a good understanding of council housing from both perspectives. The best part is handing keys over to new tenants, it makes me feel good that I’ve helped somebody find a home. This experience is the first step on the ladder for me, before this I hadn’t had the opportunities to be able to prove to an employer what I was able to give to a job."

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“The partnership between West North West Homes and Jobcentre Plus is a great move, and it is important that we continue this excellent scheme so as to try and help as many people as possible.

“I wish all those taking part in the scheme the best of luck.”

Richard Walker, Head of Service for West North West homes Leeds said:

"It's great to see the strong calibre and how enthusiastic the candidates have been, we really believe we've set up a training package that will give them a real feel for working in the housing sector and hopefully kick-start some brilliant careers with us. The fact that most are Council tenants is all the better".

The project, led by West North West Works, a sub-brand of West North West homes Leeds will end on 25th October 2012 but aims to be repeated every three months, starting at the end of January 2013 dependent on the success of this pilot.


For media enquiries, please contact;

Cat Milburn, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 247 4450

Email: Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk