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SARH learning academy leads to four full-time jobs

A Stafford housing association’s Learning Academy providing training and employment opportunities has helped 4 young people to find permanent employment.

In 2012 Stafford and Rural Homes took on its first 10 trainees through the government’s Youth Contract programme on six month contracts working in partnership with the Shaw Trust.

Now three of those trainees Dominic Sorby, 22, and Mark Edwards-Foster, 23, both from Stafford, and John Wilkes, 23, from Eccleshall, have all gone on to gain full-time contracts with SARH.

“Our work with the Shaw Trust through the Youth Programme is about giving young people much more than temporary employment for six months, it is about equipping them with the skills and experience they need to gain long-term employment and we’re delighted to welcome Dominic, Mark and John back to SARH on a full-time basis,” said Jo Hough, head of Human Resources for SARH.

Following the success of the programme SARH has now taken on a further seven unemployed young people aged between 19 and 22 through the Youth Contract in 2013.

“Working with SARH has provided so much more than jobs.  The enthusiasm they have shown towards the people of Stafford in particular the 18 to 24 year old customers of Shaw Trust and Serco is truly inspiring,” said Kevin Rust, employer accounts manager for the Shaw Trust.

“I have built many relationships with varying employers across Stafford and Stoke-on-Trent but SARH have shown an empathy for young job seekers and the great will to propel them into a lengthy paid career. What others don’t see is the investment of time and energy behind closed doors the SARH team give to the new trainees.”

In addition to this initiative, SARH also provides apprenticeship places and has recently taken on one of its recent governance apprentices, Martin Sawyer, 22, from Stafford, as a technical assistant.

“The initial apprenticeship gave me the experience and confidence to go on and gain full time employment with SARH,” said Martin Sawyer.

“It also gave me an insight into how SARH operates which was invaluable when applying for my new role.”

SARH also worked in partnership with Stafford College last year to provide an 8 week pre-apprenticeship programme aimed at 16-18 years olds who are looking to gain work experience, which so far five young people have completed.

“When we set first set up our learning academy our aim was to provide opportunities to help local people into sustained employment.  This is something that we are extremely passionate about and we are delighted our work with local partners is successfully enabling young people to get a solid foot on the employment ladder,” said Karen Armitage, Chief Executive of SARH.

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