Employment Opportunities action group co-chair Chris Gopal explains the aims of this group, and how businesses and film-makers can help…
I am delighted to have been asked to co-chair the Employment Action Group as part of Manchester’s Homelessness Charter as I believe that meaningful work can play a fundamental role in helping people to overcome homelessness and exclusion, and move their lives on to a more sustainable place, both economically and socially.
There’s no doubt that homelessness has become much more visible over the past few years in Manchester and it’s easy for people to assume that people with a homeless background don’t want to work or haven’t got worthwhile skills to offer.
However, from my long-standing experience of delivering Business in the Community’s ‘Ready for Work’ programme, I know that many of the people I meet are motivated, committed and eager to work. They have valuable skills and attributes that would make them an asset as an employee- they simply need to be given a bit of help and support and an opportunity to prove themselves.
Through the work of the Employment Action Group, I’m hoping that we can challenge these perceptions and build new pathways into work. We already have some fantastic work going on in the City in terms of supporting people into volunteering, training, education and employment. Organisations like Back on Track, Booth Centre, Mustard Tree, YPSF, The Limes and Shelter, for example, continue to deliver life-changing services.
Where I believe the Employment Action Group can really add value is to encourage local business to step up and be a part of the solution by supporting people into work.
If you represent a business and would like to get involved, there are many tangible and effective ways that you can help, including:
- Providing volunteers to support people at our job clubs with job search and applications.
- Offering work placement opportunities with the prospect of employment.
- Attending job clubs with a view to recruiting from our talented pool of people who have recently completed work experience.
- Encouraging your supply chain to get involved by offering work experience or pledging jobs.
We are particularly keen to hear from businesses who are recruiting into entry level jobs as we have talented people who are suitable for roles in: Office admin, construction and gardening, facilities management, retail and customer services, warehousing and distribution, and hospitality and catering.
In addition, we would like to create a short film to show how businesses can help people to rebuild their lives through employment. If you are a production company/film maker or local business willing to help to bring this film to life, we’d love to hear from you.
Through our collective efforts, I believe we can make a positive and lasting impact in terms of supporting people into employment and I look forward to working with you and developing the Employment Action Group.
Chris Gopal is co-chair of the Employment Action Group, and Work Inclusion manager at Business in the Community.
Ready for Work is Business in the Community’s national programme, supporting some of the most disadvantaged people to enter employment, with business involved every step of the way. Find out more at www.bitc.org.uk/programmes/ready-work.