YHN keeps it in the family
There is double celebration for a Newcastle family after a
mother and son, who struggled to find employment, both secured new
Valerie McDonald, 52, and her son Gary, 20, took part in an
employability scheme run by Your Homes Newcastle (YHN) earlier this
year, which gave them first-hand experience of working in a leading
supermarket. They first heard about the scheme at a discussion
group delivered by the YHN Customer Involvement Team, something
they attend regularly as volunteers.
After showing so much potential throughout the two day voluntary
programme, Valerie was offered a job at the supermarket and Gary
was successful in applying for a sixth month paid position at
Gary is now progressing well through his Your Homes Your Jobs
placement, working as a community environmental assistant, and Val
has recently successfully completed her sixth month probationary
Valerie had previously worked as a carer but then found it
difficult to find employment. And despite completing training
courses in the past, her son Gary had never had a job and struggled
to find work due to his lack of experience.
The employability scheme is one of many developed for YHN tenants,
many of whom are long-term unemployed, to give them the skills base
they need to go into the job market with confidence.
Tenants took part in training sessions with the supermarket to
learn key customer service skills, good practice in the workplace,
and dealing with complaints, and linked up with existing members of
staff to gain an insight into working on the shop floor.
As part of the programme they also took part in mock interviews and
were given advice on application and interview techniques, giving
them confidence to apply for jobs and an insight into what
employers are looking for.
Following this, Gary applied for his position through the Your
Homes Your Jobs scheme, which employs 20 unemployed YHN customers
every year to help them increase their skills, confidence and
prospects, and provides references for other potential
He said: “Doing the training really made me want to continue
working and I was keen to put all of the skills I’d learned there
and on other YHN courses to good use. I was quite nervous for the
interview but I did a mock interview with Stuart Clarke which
really helped so I felt confident enough to give good responses and
put myself across well.
“I was over the moon when I found out I’d got the job, it’ll be so
useful having this experience of working at YHN on my CV and I’m
absolutely loving it. I get to get out and about, tidy up gardens
and communal areas and generally improve the look of estates and
it’s great to be working out in the open. I thought I might
struggle to adapt but that hasn’t been the case at all – in fact,
when I took a week off I found it harder to get into holiday mode
than I did getting back into work mode!”
Stuart Clarke, Customer Involvement Officer at YHN, said: “Customer
Involvement, delivering quality training and helping tenants gain
skills to move into employment are key elements of the wider
service we deliver at YHN.
“This employability programme has been really successful and
highlights the importance of partnership working – especially with
big employers – and Your Homes Your Jobs continues to increase the
employability of many tenants. At YHN we don’t just provide houses.
We’re about creating sustainable communities, supporting tenants
and ultimately having an impact on the North East