Providing jobs for the socially excluded

The PM has leant his support to BeOnsite, a national not for profit organisation that addresses the skills shortage in the construction industry.

The Prime Minister yesterday leant his support to the second anniversary celebrations of BeOnsite, a national not for profit organisation established by Bovis Lend Lease to address the skills shortage in the construction industry, held at the Treasury.

Whilst not able to be there in person he sent a message of support to the scheme:

“Thanks to your efforts you are helping people turn their lives around by securing them apprenticeships and jobs and, most importantly, the chance to show what they can do.”

Since its launch in 2008, BeOnsite has worked in partnership with government, industry and local communities to train a number of people from all types of backgrounds, including those from socially excluded groups who normally would find it hard to find employment and to be given a second chance.

One success story is Meurika Stewart, an ex-offender with a history of drug abuse and crime.

Through a rehabilitation project, she took the opportunity offered by BeOnsite to learn new skills as a dry-lining trainee whilst still in prison and upon her release has continued in the job she had been doing for the previous eleven months, providing stability in a new and uncertain future.

Ms Stewart said BeOnsite gave her a chance and changed her life:

“Not a lot of people want to give you a chance but BeOnsite is not looking at the past, it’s looking at what, given the support, you can give in the future.

“For me personally I now see a light at the end of the tunnel. Having this opportunity has changed my life dramatically.

A number of other BeOnsite trainees attended the event where they spoke of their hopes and dreams for the future. Whether long-term unemployed, formerly homeless or with a prison record they were united in their determination to move forward with their lives.

Many are hoping to participate in a scheme that BeOnsite will be working on with the GLA to help change the lives of young offenders.

The facts on youth reoffending are that:

“The rate of re-offending for youngsters leaving custody stands at a shocking 75 per cent.

“This is coupled with the average of £55,000 that it costs to detain each young offender for a year. It makes sense both economically and socially to break young people out of the cycle of crime.”

The scheme will see BeOnsite providing young offenders with current BeOnsite ex-offender employees, like Meurika, as role models to offer in-work 1:1 mentoring pre and post release.

They will then be offered the structured, tried and tested BeOnsite entry into the industry which sustains employment through supporting and establishing routes to progression based on industry need.

BeOnsite works within the industry to identify the exact training needs of the individual contractor. It then sources both the funding and the training provider to deliver specialist training.

Successful candidates are then employed by BeOnsite to begin working on-site for the contractor, under their supervision, before eventually moving on to work directly in the supply chain.

Ministers Jim Knight from Department for Work and Pensions and Maria Eagle from the Ministry of Justice both spoke of the important need for BeOnsite’s work citing the value of peer mentoring and the need to unlock the potential of each and every individual whilst BeOnsite’s Managing Director Val Lowman ended the event by saying:

“We are so pleased to see BeOnsite succeeding in not only supporting the training requirement of the construction industry supply chain, but working to build a more diverse workforce and showing government a new way of tackling reoffending, city centre worklessness and the skills shortage.”

Our guest writer is Jessica Mellor-Clark, communications manager of BeOnsite

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

3 Responses to “Providing jobs for the socially excluded”

  1. FAS

    This is a great example of the value of public-private-Third-Sector-partnerships and how they can seek to solve, rather than manage, social problems like unemployment, or, in this case, unemployability. I imagine there are some questions around scaling, but this is very encouraging – well done.

  2. urit Anton

    When you use the phrase “labor shortage” or “skills shortage” you’re speaking in a sentence fragment. What you actually mean to say is: “There is a labor shortage at the salary level I’m willing to pay.” That statement is the correct phrase; the complete sentence and the intellectually honest statement.

    Some people speak about shortages as though they represent some absolute, readily identifiable lack of desirable services. Price is rarely accorded its proper importance in their discussion.

    If you start raising wages and improving working conditions, and continue doing so, you’ll solve your shortage and will have people lining up around the block to work for you even if you need to have huge piles of steaming manure hand-scooped on a blazing summer afternoon.

    And if you think there’s going to be a shortage caused by employees retiring out of the workforce: Guess again: With the majority of retirement accounts down about 50% or more, most people entering retirement age are working well into their sunset years. So, you won’t be getting a worker shortage anytime soon due to retirees exiting the workforce.

    Some specialized jobs require training and/or certification, again, the solution is higher wages and improved benefits. People will self-fund their re-education so that they can enter the industry in a work-ready state. The attractive wages, working conditions and career prospects of technology during the 1980’s and 1990’s was a prime example of people’s willingness to self-fund their own career re-education.

    There is never enough of any good or service to satisfy all wants or desires. A buyer, or employer, must give up something to get something. They must pay the market price and forego whatever else he could have for the same price. The forces of supply and demand determine these prices — and the price of a skilled workman is no exception. The buyer can take it or leave it. However, those who choose to leave it (because of lack of funds or personal preference) must not cry shortage. The good is available at the market price. All goods and services are scarce, but scarcity and shortages are by no means synonymous. Scarcity is a regrettable and unavoidable fact.

    Shortages are purely a function of price. The only way in which a shortage has existed, or ever will exist, is in cases where the “going price” has been held below the market-clearing price.

  3. BethOffenbacker

    Left Foot Forward / social #inclusion and employment in the UK

Leave a Reply