Following success on their pilot Reintegration to Employment (RtE) programme, Colas have extended the programme to Liverpool, working alongside community interest company, Nobody Left Behind (NLB), and registered social landlord, South Liverpool Homes to offer support and placements to 16–25-year-olds in the region who are currently not in education, training or employment (NEET).
Colas first piloted the bespoke, person-centered RtE programme in Leeds, in partnership with St George’s Crypt and Leeds City Council’s Leaving Care Team. The programme has 4 stages to gradually bring candidates into employment, one of these being Real Living Wage paid work experience for candidates which allows them to move at their own pace, to gain confidence, increase their working hours over the course of the placement and prepare themselves for a full-time role.
Nobody Left Behind focuses on recognising and supporting vulnerable young adults who are NEET, and those who need alternative pathways away from offending behavior. To help young adults reach their potential, Nobody Left Behind helps those on the programme engage, build skillsets, and offer routes into employment.
In January 2023, Colas welcomed Dhaliso Chisango, known as Dee, to the business on the programme. At 22 years old, Dee was classified as NEET, and residing in temporary accommodation. Dee found her passion for construction whilst studying plumbing in college but pursued a different career path as she struggled to find opportunities in the industry. Following completion of the Nobody Left Behind Women Warrior construction camp, Dee is now carrying out the 12-week programme under the support and guidance of an appointed buddy from within Colas, focusing her placement on engineering.
The project is delivered in partnership with NLB and Learn Work Sefton and funded by its ESF Positive Inclusion Programme. The purpose of the camp is to increase the confidence of females in order to bring them closer to the jobs market, and part of the process was to introduce the group (of young females aged 16-21), into the sector and provide CSCS and other construction training.
Dee has said: My opportunity with NLB & wild woman warriors empowered me to build my confidence and help me focus on mind over matter and how I can incorporate that into the world of work.
I once called a company and when I explained to them I was looking for work or any work experience, I got asked if I knew I was calling a construction company and when I said I understood they cut the phone on me before I even got to finish my sentence. This is what drove me to go work in a different career path.
My time at Colas has opened up a new prospective career in civil & infrastructure. I have learnt how to use new equipment such as a cat & Genny and a total station. The service coordinator taught me the importance of understanding the dangers of underground services and how to identify them to ensure safety of the workers. The engineers have taught me a more detailed approach the construction and maintenance of the roads.
I would like to give a massive thank you to the Colas team for making me feel so at home within the company.”
Head of Social Value, Rachael Atkin added: “It’s a fantastic programme and we’re really excited about what we can do to support vulnerable, unemployed young adults. When we were appointed a place on the Highway Improvement Programme in Liverpool, we saw an opportunity to expand the initiative, enabling us to continue to help those who are struggling. It’s been a difficult journey for Dee, however she has settled into her engineering placement and is looking forward to prospects in the future.”
Barbara Travis, CEO at Nobody Left Behind said: “Rachael and the Colas team came in to see the girls whilst they undertook confidence training. Girls in the group instantly connected with Rachael and Andy from Colas, and a site visit was organised to provide a further insight to the roles available.
NLB is delighted that Dee has gained employment with Colas. Dee is based in South Liverpool and her main goal was to pursue a career in construction that would enable her to secure a tenancy.”