Family Optima helps school leaver secure contractor apprenticeship

16 year-old Lawrence Fisher Smith secures his very first job.

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We are very pleased to see 16 year-old Lawrence Fisher Smith secure his very first job after our employment team realised a potential opportunity with our property maintenance contractor, Novus Solutions.

Lawrence left school this summer and was working part time job in a local shop. As our Family Optima employment team had previously helped Lawrence’s mum in finding work, she contacted us again to help Lawrence write his first ever CV. It was through this that we realised Lawrence was a perfect candidate for an apprentice opportunity provided by one of our contractors, Novus Solutions.

Lawrence said “This has been really helpful, you’ve got me on my feet.”

Clare O’Driscoll, Family Optima Employment Coach, said: “We always ask our contractors to think about how they can positively support our customers. It was during his CV session that we realised Lawrence had a strong interest in construction, painting and decorating so we put Lawrence forward for one of the apprentice opportunities with Novus Solutions. We then helped Lawrence prepare for the interview and he was successfully appointed as a painter / decorator in September.”

Family Optima is part of the WM Housing Group providing employment and training opportunities across Birmingham, Coventry, the West Midlands, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

The apprenticeship was made possible after Head of Community Investment for WM Housing, Claire Hardwick along with Family Optima’s Employment Coordinator, Selena Ellis and Asset Surveyor, Kam Chahal, identified that our customers could benefit from placements offered by Novus and worked with them to get an agreement to ring fence placements specifically for Family Optima customers. Although these opportunities have previously been available, they had not been taken up by Family Optima customers.

Selena said: “This is an excellent example of how we can achieve and create positive outcomes for the organisation and our customers. We hope to replicate this for other contracts, where possible, as this is an important and growing aspect of our employment support. We work with various customers to help them on their employment journey connecting them to opportunities which will hopefully enable them to achieve their goals and help them sustain their tenancies in the process.”

Claire Hardwick, added: “This is a great example of how training and job opportunities provided by our contractors can be taken up by our local residents when we work together to achieve this. Ensuring that these opportunities are targeted at our local communities is a key part of WM Housing Group’s approach to maximising the social value we achieve through our contract delivery.”

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