WE’VE been working with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Writtle College to help people gain employment experience.
Having gained a City and Guilds level-one award in Practical Horticulture from Writtle College, two volunteers - Benjamin Badri, 21, and Philip Mortimer, 60-recently showcased their green fingered skills by working with ours Grounds Maintenance team for a six-week work experience placement to help cut and prune residents gardens.
Mark Rodger, Volunteer Co-ordinator, said: “It was wonderful to see the volunteers gradually develop on a daily basis.
“There can sometimes be a gap between the level of skill and experience that someone has and their confidence, which is why we are dedicated to providing volunteering and work experience placements as we believe that they are a great way for people to find their way back into employment.”
Run by Writtle College, and working with the DWP, the free course offers jobseekers the opportunity to learn basic horticulture tasks such as preparing the ground for planting, maintenance and landscape construction as well as giving them an understanding of the horticulture industry, how to prepare for employment and working as a member of a team.
“Because of my time working with CHP’s Grounds Maintenance team I’ve seen my confidence grow. I’d definitely recommend volunteering as it is an excellent way for people to build their skills in a friendly working environment,” added Ben.
Tom Cole, Head of Faculty Land Based Studies at Writtle College, commented: “Writtle College has been offering these training sessions over the last few years to those wishing to develop their horticultural potential and gain employment.
“On this occasion both Ben and Philip - under the expert care of Writtle College lecturers - were able to successfully hone their skills caring for planted areas, propagating a range of plants and gaining excellent horticultural skills and knowledge. Their enthusiasm and commitment was astounding.”
“Work experience combined with specific training is a great way to help people get the skills they need, while boosting their CV to help them achieve their aspirations of work,” said Lauren Kilbey, DWP Essex Social Justice Leader.
“Through our work with housing associations like CHP we're helping local people like Benjamin and Philip move closer to work in the horticulture sector and giving them the chance to shine in front of prospective employers. A further three garden projects are in the pipeline and we would like to hear from any other housing or community associations that might be interested in developing their own scheme.”