City West Housing Trust has teamed up with charity The Big Life Group and other local partners to launch the FRESH Living project, which is designed to support people from a range of challenging backgrounds who want to work towards a fresh start and brighter future.
A total of 14 people have been selected by the North West-based housing association to take part in a 22-week training programme to help them gain new qualifications and prepare them for working life.
Following the training programme, 10 of the candidates will secure three-year apprenticeships with City West Housing Trust’s contractors, and help to build or renovate hundreds of homes across Salford.
As part of the programme each apprentice will be given an opportunity to secure their own home with the landlord, supporting their next step on the housing ladder.
The apprentices will be paid a living wage for 30 hours a week and bank a further 10 hours as ‘sweat equity’ in the first year of the programme. This will subsidise their rent during the second and third year of their apprenticeships.
Viv Simon, Head of Enterprise at City West, said: “For thousands of people living in difficult circumstances across the region a secure job and a home of their own is a distant dream.
“City West wants to help turn that dream into a reality, by giving them a fresh start in life.
“FRESH Living gives people a chance to kick-start a career by helping to build and renovate properties in their own communities – and better still they will be able to call one of those properties home.”
25 year-old Perry Curtis, from Lower Broughton in Salford, sees FRESH Living as a second chance for a better future after six years of unemployment due to a previous conviction.
Perry said: “I’ve had great difficulty accessing opportunities, and thought that past mistakes would mean I’d never get the chance to turn my life around.
“I was referred to the scheme by a charity and applied straight away – although I was so nervous on the recruitment day I didn’t think I would have much of a chance.
“But when I got the phone call to say I was on the scheme, I knew that this was a chance of a lifetime – I’ve got a new energy and finally have something to be proud of.
“It’s going to be hard work, but after being unemployed for so long, I’m relishing the opportunity to get stuck in.”
For more information on City West’s FRESH Living programme, please click here.