At Chequers, we are great believers in giving something back to the community and we are continually engaging with new and existing clients to assist, and in many instances organise events such as community days and charitable events.
We are working in partnership with a number of Housing Associations to promote ways in to work for their residents. We recently helped sponsor a local ‘Jobs Fair’ where we delivered a workshop on Starting up a Business. Our workshop was the most subscribed, with standing room only! Following the workshop we offered one to one mentoring with individuals. The workshop was scheduled for 40 minutes but ran to over an hour due to its popularity.
The Future Jobs Fund was a Government initiative aimed at young people who have been unemployed for one year and claiming job seekers allowance to get back into the workplace. Through this initiative we provided six months training and work experience to three young people and, owing to the success of this scheme, all three candidates have successfully completed their National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) and all three candidates are now employed on a full-time basis with our company.
As our company continues to grow, the need to recruit for staff remains evident. We advertise all vacancies with the JobCentePlus and Skills Training UK. Skills Training UK is a specialist employability and skills training provider at the leading edge of DWP Welfare to Work (W2W) provision. Their candidates include some of the most disadvantaged groups in society. Prospective candidates benefit from a diverse range of employment solutions and back-to-work services, such as Response to Unemployment and Redundancy, Skills for Jobs, Skills for Life and Train to Gain, delivered with the support of funding from the Department of Work and Pensions, the Learning & Skills Council and the European Social Fund.
Details of all Chequers vacancies are placed on notice boards on the various Housing Estates we currently clean in order to encourage members of the local Community to apply.
Each year we assist local schools and offer Work Experience placements for students. The students are taken on for a period of two weeks and carry out a range of duties such as manual cleaning works to office administration. We can offer up to four students a work experience placement at one time.
As part of our quality control process, we regularly attend Resident Meetings for our Housing Associations. This enables us to reach out to people that we may not necessarily come into contact with on a daily basis and provides an opportunity for these people to voice their opinions on the level of service that they receive from Chequers. Attending these meetings has proved useful for both our clients and Chequers; we have received good feedback from residents and members of the Housing Association Boards.
We have held our contract for Cleaning and Premises Services at Pendragon School since July 2004. Pendragon School is a specialist Humanities College that caters for students with a range of additional needs: moderate learning, speech, language and communication, autism, complex needs and, in some cases, associated behavioural and emotional difficulties.
Our Premises Officer John Howard has been working with some of the students on a gardening project in preparation for the recent launch of The Dulwich Sports ground which was officially opened on Sunday 27th March 2011 by the Rt. Hon Tessa Jowell. The students worked with John, also assisted by teaching staff, to put together hanging baskets of flowers for the Sports Ground. The students were taken to the grounds and much fun was had in preparing the baskets.
As mentioned above, Chequers is now part of a steering group which is predominantly being lead by London & Quadrant Housing. Throughout the rest of this year we (the steering group) are putting together a series of workshops for the Housing Association Steering Groups residents. The workshops are going to be such things as: Starting up your own business, preparing cv’s and preparing for interviews, volunteering, and no doubt more to be added. We have also started preparing for another bigger and even better jobs fair in February of next year, which is, again, to be held at Fairfileds Hall.
Over 330 residents attended the job fair this year and we hope to get more attending next year. Please see the Steering group members below