Streetscene: Creating Jobs, Improving Neighbourhoods Streetscene started as a job creation and employability programme in association with Steps to Work and Walsall Housing Group. The aim of Streetscene, which began in 2015, was to create sustainable employment for local people, giving them the chance to gain new skills and form a stable career. The project would pay operatives the living wage whilst providing them the opportunity to gain NVQ qualifications and other relevant certificates in order to improve their employability for the future. As well as providing sustainable employment for Black Country residents the programme also set out to improve local neighbourhoods, providing quality maintenance work to both domestic and commercial markets. This project is a win-win. Customers benefit from improvements to their homes, the community benefits from a better look to the area and people who were previously unemployed are earning a wage whilst they gain valuable work experience, confidence and a work reference for future employment. – Gary Fulford, Group Chief Executive, WHG. The project saw a number of operatives who had previously been unemployed for long periods of time gain nationally-recognised qualifications including the City and Guilds Construction Skills Award level 1 and a BSC Healthy and Safety level 1 in Construction Environment among others. The partnership with WHG provided the funds for training, materials, PPE, vehicles, welfare facilities, tools and wages whilst Steps to Work dealt with recruitment and necessary training and support. Operatives were paid the living wage throughout the duration of the project which lasted seventeen months and all of them passed their qualifications at either merit or distinction grades, benefitting from training that would normally have cost them approximately £3,500 each. It was the best job I have ever had, one of the best gaffers I have ever had, my CV looks ten times better and I have made 4 new best friends Following seventeen months of successful employment the Streetscene project came to an end leaving operatives with qualifications, confidence and references. In the two months leading up to the end of the programme, participants were given the opportunity to complete ten intensive employability sessions at our Bloxwich site Work on the Horizon, funded by WHG. These sessions helped them to write CVs and prepare for interviews, they were all then offered positions through our recruitment agency Starting Point Recruitment to work for Walsall Council’s environmental services and had all started their new jobs within a week of finishing the Streetscene programme. I have made some really close friends. Streetscene has taught me a lot and given me loads of training. The work was hard but it was nice to stand back and see what we achieved. Even the experienced tradesmen were impressed by the quality of our work. I have a new born baby girl and it’s too difficult trying to raise a child on the dole. A full time job gives me focus and independence instead of watching Jeremy Kyle all day! I have never done any work like this before and to be honest didn’t think I had it in me to learn new skills but Street Scene, Shaune and my colleagues have made this one of the best times of my life.