Partners give hope to Wigan jobseekers

26 Apr 2024
A local charity has opened its doors for more local people to access training and employment opportunities. Rebuild with Hope, which runs outlet shops in Wigan’s Grand arcade, has partnered with local Restart Scheme provider, Ingeus, to offer the scheme’s participants a volunteering pathway to paid employment. Rebuild with
Hope has already recruited six Restart Scheme participants, with 17 more people undertaking pre-employment training and volunteering slots at the store. It is hoped that many more will progress into paid positions at
Rebuild with Hope or gain valuable work experience to offer other local employers. 

The opportunities are supporting people traditionally facing significant barriers to getting into work, such as single parents, people with health conditions and disabilities, those with criminal convictions, over 50s, and long-term unemployed people. In addition to offering customer service, warehousing, cleaning, e-commerce, and merchandising roles, Rebuild with Hope places a strong emphasis on employability and life-skills training, with workers undertaking manual handling, first aid, and budgeting sessions amongst others.   

Aaron, who has brittle bone disease and has never worked before, landed a permanent job as a cleaner at the store and has recently increased his hours. He said: “I wasn’t made to feel useless or put in a situation that I couldn’t manage. I was offered a staggered start to build up my strength and I’m up to 24 hours a week now.  

“Since I started here back in November, everyone, and I mean everyone, has been kind and helpful. I can take time to rest if I feel achy due to my condition, but I keep busy. Time goes so quickly; I love my job.’’ 

Meanwhile local mum Zoe, from Platt Bridge, has been volunteering at the store since November, after nine years out of work. “I love absolutely everything about it,” she says. “I was worried though about having a big workless gap on my CV.  

“I thought volunteering was a great idea, to get back into the swing of work gradually. We’re mentored by a member of staff and treated just like any other colleague. It’s got me out interacting with people again, not stuck at home.” 

Ingeus runs the Restart Scheme in Greater Manchester and has a centre on Hallgate which provides all-round back to work support for unemployed jobseekers. Employer Account Manager, Gary Cross, forged the relationship with Rebuild with Hope and personally attends store visits with interested Restart Scheme participants. He said:  

“Rebuild with Hope recruits on attitude and employs on skill and they do so much behind the scenes to develop and upskill the participants we place there. The change we see in people who were perhaps a step away from going into traditional full-time employment is incredible. It’s a caring work environment where everyone is valued equally. I can’t praise them enough for the opportunities they’re giving to disadvantaged jobseekers.” 

Rebuild with Hope is a charitable organisation that also runs retail outlets in Earlestown and Kirkham, as well as hosting community sales in disadvantaged communities across the North West. With no central funding, all proceeds go toward their employability programmes. CEO, Louise Atherton, says:  

“The stores are the vehicle that allow us to support people. Having such a big site here in Wigan means we have the space and facilities to offer more employment, training and volunteering. It also means we can be flexible with hours, for those people who need family friendly shifts or want to return to work on a gradual basis.  
“Having Gary and the Restart Scheme feeding into that really benefits us. Gary is so proactive; he highlights potential applicants, attends the store visits and inductions, and finds us local people with the right attitude to succeed. We see their confidence, self esteem and employability grow and that’s what we’re all about.”  

Learn more about Restart Scheme in Greater Manchester 
Visit Rebuild with Hope Website

Watch the story here

Recommended Articles