Customer training programme is a winner

A programme to train social housing customers in essential skills has been recognised with an award.

Aspire Housing was presented with the West Midlands project Award for Customer Skills and Development from the National Institute of Continuing Adult Education (NIACE) at a ceremony this week.

NIACE is a national organisation that strives to provide all adults with the opportunities to learn throughout their lives.

The programme, which is run by Aspire’s resident engagement coordinator Maxine Clark, is a needs-led programme that is shaped by input from customers.

They identify what would help them sustain their housing tenancies, improve their confidence, self-esteem, learn new skills, gain qualifications and enter employment.

Activities and courses are a mixture of social activities and accredited learning and have included subjects such as cooking on a budget, computers for beginners, paediatric first aid, personal development, introduction to volunteering and food hygiene.

Customers are referred to Aspire’s employment and skills team who help with CV writing, job searches and helping customers into formal learning at college

Of 162 customers who were trained 63 gained an accreditation, four have got a paid job, three have taken on volunteering roles and one has started a university course.

The award recognises the programme’s creativity, imagination and energy.

Andrew Powell, resident involvement manager, said: “We are delighted with this award which recognises Aspire Housing’s commitment to develop the skills of its customers and Maxine’s personal enthusiasm in making it happen.”

Pictured receiving the award from one of the sponsors are (left to right) Sheryl Pope, Aspire Housing customer; award sponsor Mike Atwell, Education Director of the Workers Education Association; Maxine Clark, Aspire Housing resident engagement coordinator; Tim Edwards, Aspire Group head of regeneration.