09 November 2018

Mi-space wins award for innovative community back to work project

An innovative partnership, which is helping people in a Cornish community to gain new skills and get back into work, has seen Mi-space honoured with an award.

Mi-space, which is part of the Midas Group, received the Employer Award at the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Building Better Opportunities (BBO) Awards, held at the Headland Hotel, Newquay.

It was in recognition of Mi-space’s collaboration with social landlord Coastline Housing on its Coastline Construct scheme, which gives local people the opportunity to gain construction industry qualifications and work on a ‘live’ site.

Following completion of the training, two participants have already been offered permanent employment, one of whom, Shane Avent, was presented with the Participant Award at the event.

The Mi-space team was nominated by Coastline Housing for their enthusiasm and commitment to Coastline Construct, with award judges being told that Mi-space had “championed the project in a number of ways” and “gone above and beyond” by providing additional materials, drawing up plans and investing additional staffing hours.”

The Coastline Construct project enables participants to gain a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card through an eight-week long training programme from the Work Skills Training Academy alongside practical training on a live site, where participants learn construction skills first hand.

Mi-space is currently working on an £8 million, 75-home affordable housing development on behalf of Coastline Housing on land near Nansloe Primary School, in Helston; where, with full support from the site team, Assistant Site Manager Graham Hindson has been able to dedicate much of his time to supporting the programme, its participants and the Coastline team.

David Pengelly, Operations Manager for Mi-space, said: “We are thrilled to win this prestigious award and we were delighted to be nominated by our customer, Coastline Housing, with whom we are proud to have worked over a number of years on important local social housing schemes.

“As a regional employer, we are committed to the communities that we work in and to supporting projects which leave a positive and lasting legacy.

“Coastline Construct has already helped make a real difference in the lives of local people, helping them to gain confidence and achieve qualifications that will help them get back into work. It’s a great initiative to be part of and I’d like to extend my own thanks to our project team and supply chain for helping make it such a success.”

Shane Avent, who is now employed as a part-time gateman at the Mi-space site in Helston, gained his CSCS card with the Coastline Construct scheme having been introduced through a Building Better Opportunities project called Who Dares Works.

Shane said: “Mi-space seemed to be impressed with my work during the training programme and offered me a part-time job, which will hopefully lead to a full-time one. Mi-space is a brilliant firm to work for, and they have been so helpful. One great thing about the programme is that it makes you feel better about yourself and boosts your confidence.

“I want to promote the scheme as there are so many people out there who, like I did, need the support to get back into work.

“It was a bit of a surprise to win the award, it was such an interesting day.”

Bee Rowley from Coastline Housing said: “Coastline Housing is committed to creating opportunities for customers and members of the local community to enhance their skills and secure rewarding employment opportunities. The success of Coastline Construct would not have been possible without the commitment and dedication of our partners at Mi-space and the outcomes speak for themselves. That both Mi-space and Shane won an award demonstrates the power of partnership working in community-based projects.”

Coastline Construct provides both classroom and practical training, covering the various trades including masonry, carpentry, plastering, groundworks, cleaning, admin and health and safety.

The practical training is delivered by Work Skills Training Academy, while support with wellbeing, transport, equipment and childcare is provided by Who Dares Works and Positive People, through ESF funding and the Building Better Opportunities Big Lottery Fund.

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