Marcus Hachett

Sovereign helps Ryde and Newport residents learn new skills

Date: 1 May 2018 

Residents of Ryde and Newport have gained new skills in DIY, computing, security services and customer relations, thanks to more than £3000 funding and support from Sovereign Housing Association, and additional help from the European Social Fund.

Since October 2017, more than 60 participants have taken up the opportunity for study with tutors from Brockenhurst College - based in the New Forest - and from the Isle of Wight College.

The courses - in Food Hygiene, Health & Safety and other fields should give new hope to unemployed participants, and new direction to those already in work - as well as recognised qualifications like the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card. And Sovereign is set to fund two further CSCS sessions later this year, taking place in Ryde and Newport.

Kevin Burt, 22, from Newport, on the CSCS course, said: “Hopefully this qualification will set me on a path to better employment. I’ve worked as a cleaner and volunteered for the British Heart Foundation, but the CSCS card should bring me new opportunities.”

Marcus Hachett, 44, said: “I’ve been going to the Pantogether sessions in Newport where they help you fix your cv up, teach you computing skills, and talk to you about the options out there. That’s how I found out about this course. They made me feel at ease and able to talk to them about the problems I’ve been facing. I used to hold the CSCS licence about ten years ago, so renewing it is a good option for me. It’s good to be able to refresh my knowledge in case I do go back into the building trade.”

Sovereign Communities Officer, Lea Hampton, has also worked with Janet Stevens, Head of Workforce Development at Isle of Wight College, to organise taster session classes using Sovereign expertise, designed to tempt adult learners back into education. Participants were able to gain an insight into plastering, tiling, brick laying among other sessions.

Lea said: “The Isle of Wight is one of Sovereign’s ‘priority communities’ where, as well as building and managing affordable homes, we are keen to invest in our residents and communities. Both Brockenhurst College and Isle of Wight College offer a broad range of adult learning courses.

“We’d love to hear from more residents in Ryde and Newport about the classes they’d like us to support, as it’s really important we fund the courses that residents actually want! Some of these will be available to the whole community in Ryde and Newport, not just to Sovereign residents, so please get in touch to find out more.”

Local partners Learning Links, Pantogether, Job Centre Plus and nearby schools were involved in publicising the courses. For more information or to suggest a course that you would like to take part in, please contact Lea on lea.hampton@sovereign.org.uk or call Brockenhurst College on: 02380 682571 to book a place.