"A lot of credit goes to the SBWA - it generated a big increase in the responses to my applications, and the training I got, helped me secure multiple job offers at once - amazing after 6 months without anything"


Quote from Sean - SBWA Trainee who secured employment immediately after completing the customer services academy.


As the credit crunch took hold and unemployment increased, particularly amongst social housing tenants, Richard was asked to explore the links between Housing and Employment and to deliver a project whereby social housing tenants were helped into employment.


Working in partnership with the local Council, JobCentre Plus, repairs and grounds maintenance contractors, other housing organisations and third sector companies, Richard established "West North West Works", a division of the ALMO which specialised in corporate social responsibility, in particular helping tenants into employment.


A number of Sector Based Work Academies (SBWA) were established, whereby jobseekers were given direct experience of working within housing at no cost to the organisation, whilst also promoting existing staff development as they became mentors to the trainees.


Opportunities were brokered with each of the partners, including:

  • Contractor sponsorship of an employment master-class delivered by Chanel 4's "The Fairy Jobmother"
  • Volunteering
  • Passion For Fashion events (launching the fashion design careers of young people)
  • Strategic brokering of future local employment positions with local firms
  • Apprenticeships
  • Contractor DIY taster sessions
  • Integrating learning disability horticultural partnerships into the provider framework for local environmental housing projects



  • Over 50 unemployed tenants into work
  • Contributed to the financial inclusion agenda
  • Built confidence and capacity within the community
  • Elements of this model have been replicated elsewhere by Richard, resulting in 100% employment offers of SBWA trainees, either directly or with subcontractors
  • Rent arrears reductions as a direct result of tenants gaining employment
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