Lancashire-based Progress Housing Group has been shortlisted for a prestigious housing industry award that showcases compelling and inspirational success stories of tenants, landlords and contractors.

The Group’s Progress Futures initiative is in the running for the Excellence Employment, Skills & Training Award category in the northern region TPAS Awards 2016. The winner will be announced at the northern regional ceremony at the Palace Hotel in Manchester on Friday 29 April.

Sian Coulton, Senior Community Involvement Manager, said: “We are delighted to have been nominated for a TPAS Award. Progress Futures is making a real difference to people’s lives’ helping to get them back into work or training. Even helping one person to make changes to their life can have a huge impact within their wider family and community and tenants tell us that the service is accessible, easy to use and friendly.”

Progress Futures is a free service for Progress Housing Group tenants and their families that helps them access training, apprenticeships and employment support to improve prospects and achieve their goals. They are offered advice and support to increase their chances of gaining employment, develop their skills and obtain further training or qualifications. The team works closely with each person who takes part to make sure the help and support they receive is tailored specifically to their needs.

Progress Futures can help with:

  • Arranging training in basic job skills
  • Finding and applying for training courses
  • Arranging work experience, traineeships or apprenticeships, either within the Group or with other companies
  • Preparing a CV and completing job application forms
  • The cost of training or training materials
  • Providing practical help such as temporary childcare, a contribution for transport costs while going to interviews or a contribution to buying a new suit

Since the Progress Futures service was launched in October 2013, 314 referrals have been made for support and the initiative has supported 109 customers into employment, education, work experience or training.  The service has now been extended to people with a learning disability living in supported living accommodation.

One tenant who has benefitted from the scheme is Jim, 55, of Kirkham, who had been unemployed for 24 years when he contacted Progress Futures for help. Formerly a support worker, Jim was forced to resign due to personal and health reasons but, with the support of Progress Futures, including help with his CV, interview technique, gaining his minibus licence Jim is now in full-time employment - first as a General Maintenance Operative and since July 2015 as a Site Services Officer.

Jim said: “I would recommend Progress Futures to anyone after the way they have been able to help me. Working again is giving me something money can’t buy; it gives me confidence, self-esteem and self-worth.”                                                                             

In addition to the latest nomination, the project was named runner up at the 2015 national B&Q Social Value awards.

Progress Housing Group tenants who would like further information on Progress Futures, please contact Jacky Howcutt, Progress Futures Manager, on 03333 204555, email futures@progressgroup.org.uk or find out more at www.progressgroup.org.uk/futures