The South Regional College (SRC) Armagh contract contains social clause targets which require the Contractor to offer employment opportunities for New Entrants Trainees, including Apprentices identified by the College. In order to obtain more value for the College and its users, the Department also required that the Contractor deliver Business in Education and provide Work Experience Placements as well as additional College engagements and use of innovative technologies to inform the curriculum and the profession.
One of the NETs, a 22-year-old SRC student, had been a carer for a family member which subsequently affected his school performance. Following a bereavement and several years of unemployment, he enrolled in the SRC with the Prince’s Trust/Fresh Start Scheme. Felix O’Hare employed him as a labourer. When he expressed a desire to train as a bricklayer, the Contractor supported him in his application to the College. Unfortunately, after non-attendance due to a difficult period, he was withdrawn. However, he continued to work as an Apprentice on site, supported by the Contractor and his mentor who helped rebuild his self-esteem and he has since reapplied to College to finish his NVQ.
The Contractor engaged with local Jobs and Benefits Offices and training facilities seeking potential perspective employees within the local area. One example being a gateman who was employed after long-term unemployment. Individuals appointed through this avenue were provided a mentor/buddy to ensure they gained maximum benefit from site experience.
In addition to the 1300 person weeks of employment for those most distanced from the labour market, the Contractor – Felix O’Hare – has also delivered a range of interventions such as site visits and a 3-day workshop providing local school children aged 12-15 with the opportunity to virtually construct the project using Minecraft through the Education Authority’s AmmA Centre.
Collaborative working between Client, Contractor and other partners/stakeholders was of vital importance to deriving additional value from the contract. Some of the ways in which this was achieved were: