Swan Housing Association  celebrated the graduation of over 100 residents from a series of training programmes all designed to increase their skills and capacity. Swan worked in partnership with New City College, Job Centre Plus, Learning Curve, Bromley-by-Bow Centre, JP Morgan and Metropolitan Thames Valley, to deliver a variety of certificated courses including Level 3 Certificate in Construction Skills, Childcare Level 1 and 2 and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) from The Reach.

The Construction Skills programme in partnership with New City College celebrates 8 graduates who, by completing the course, have gained the basic skills needed to start a career in construction. The graduates all took part in a practical work-experience programme at Swan’s Blackwall Reach Phase 1B construction site and have all achieved a Level 3 Certificate in Construction Skills. They are all now receiving further support with their training and development needs including advice on accessing apprenticeships and local jobs.

50 residents have completed the Transfer and Achieve programme and more than three quarters of them have since secured work, work placements or enrolled in training. The programme targets all residents living in Tower Hamlets. It is funded by JP Morgan and delivered in partnership with Metropolitan Thames Valley and Job Centre Plus. This course is a bespoke programme focussing on employability, skills and confidence and is aimed at residents who have experienced many different barriers to accessing employment.

Swan also partnered with training provider Learning Curve to deliver Childcare Level 1 and 2 programmes to 24 residents. Once the residents have completed the course, they will be fully qualified to work within a childcare setting. Swan plans to continue working with these residents to establish a childcare social enterprise at one of Swan’s local community hubs.

The graduation event also celebrated 10 years of Swan providing ESOL in partnership with the Bromley-by-Bow Centre, just this year, the programme is supporting 30 residents to gain the entry level 1 qualification and other life skills to support community cohesion. These courses have been particularly successful helping residents who apply for British citizenship. Over the last decade over 100 residents have successfully completed ESOL level 1 with Swan!

The Reach Community Facility offers a range of activities for local people daily – from martial arts to sewing; study clubs to women’s conversation and chat – the Swan team have developed a varied programme of activities designed to meet the aspirations and needs of local residents. The Reach is also used for Residents Board meetings and is available to hire. Find out more at www.blackwallreachcommunity.co.uk 

Sandra Fawcett, Swan’s Executive Director – Operations said: “Swan is passionate about building more than homes; we are dedicated to building sustainable communities and changing lives. Today’s event demonstrates how by partnering with many different organisations, who share our vision, we really can make a lasting positive impact on residents’ lives. Thank you to all our partners for their collaborative approach which is helping us together deliver so much more for local people

This graduation event celebrates the achievement of more than 100 local people who have worked to gain new skills and raise their aspirations and the professional partnerships that have been forged along the way. I would like to congratulate every single person who has worked to achieve this and wish all of today’s graduates the best of luck for the future.”

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets said: “I’m delighted to celebrate the achievements of young trainees gaining skills on the site here at Blackwall Reach. They can be proud of both training for their respective trades and also that they are part of a building project delivering affordable homes for local people that will improve the local area.”

Jules Pipe, Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration and Skills, said: “It’s great news that local residents in Tower Hamlets are seeing the real benefits of partnership working and gaining the skills that they need to get on in work and life through The Reach community facility. Construction skills are particularly important right now, and initiatives like this chime well with what we at City Hall are developing through the Mayor’s Construction Academy - getting more people trained and into jobs in construction. Congratulations to all those graduating from their training programmes today.”