Phil Miles, Director of Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group
At Clarion, we believe being a good social landlord is about more than building and maintaining homes.
Our jobs and training team provides a service that is free to all Clarion residents and people living in our communities nationwide, offering tailored support to anyone looking for a job, whether it is their first step on the career ladder or they are returning to work after time out of the labour market.
We place an emphasis on one-to-one support, with our employment advisers taking the time to understand the individual needs of the customer and offering careers guidance, interview training, job placements, apprenticeship opportunities and access to training.
I’m proud that we have continued to support people into work and training throughout the pandemic, albeit with some changes to our ways of working.
Since we launched, Clarion Futures has supported more than 15,000 people into employment, working alongside major organisations from a host of sectors including the NHS, Morrisons and Royal Mail.
In 2020/21, despite a challenging labour market we supported 2,558 people into work, including 215 people who started apprenticeships, and crucially 82% of people sustained their employment for more than six months.
Young people, however, have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, perhaps linked to the disappearance of entry level roles in sectors including retail and hospitality. It’s more important than ever for businesses to come together to help these young people access opportunities and fulfil their potential in the hope of preventing what some are calling a ‘pandemic generation’.
At Clarion, we’re proud to be leading the Kickstart Housing Partnership: a consortium of 59 members that will offer more than 800 new six-month placements for unemployed 16-24 year-olds across England and Wales under the government’s flagship scheme. We’ll be offering more than 300 placements in teams across the Group, with Clarion Futures providing in-work support and training throughout the process, helping participants to develop work skills and access additional opportunities.
We’re also exploring ways of reaching younger generations, working with secondary schools in and around Clarion communities to provide careers advice and support. With our network of suppliers and partners, we have facilitated mock interviews in several schools, as well as running apprenticeship fairs to provide information to students about the options available to them outside of higher education.
Finally, in addition to our jobs and training offer, our younger residents can take part in our ambassador programmes which provide the chance to gain valuable skills and qualifications and deliver local social action projects. Participation in these programmes can help young people to develop the confidence and soft skills that employers value, helping them find their way in the world of work.
For us, the next few months will be focused on Kickstart, helping hundreds of young people to start their careers in housing and, in return, learning from the next generation. And it is my hope that by working together, we can provide meaningful opportunities and prevent a pandemic generation.
Clarion sponsored our Employment and Skills Convention 2021. You can watch a recording of the event here.