“I think they are one of the best companies when it comes to equal opportunities.”
As part of a multi billion pound project to make the London sewer system fit for the next hundred years CVB JV – Thames Tideway East are building 25 kilometres of new tunnels beneath the streets of London. One piece of this major of infrastructure project is taking place around the corner from the 999 Club. The relief sewer at Deptford Church Street will help to prevent waste from the sewer going straight into the Thames.
The company is committed to contributing to the communities where they work. This summer managers from the company gave their time to come in to the 999 Club and lead a five week Taster into Construction course, to inspire the people who have experienced homelessness to think about this potential career path.
With contributions from the Site Manager for the Deptford Church Street project and an Engineering Manager, the course introduced participants to the range of different work that CVB JV – Thames Tideway East do, including health and safety and safe manual handing. A realistic team briefing gave the attendees the chance to experience some of the essentials of life on site – and see that in a challenging work environment following the rules really can save lives. A team member from the project who has experienced homelessness came in to talk about his journey from sleeping rough to a fulfilling career.
As part of the course, attendees met with Build London, a service that links people with jobs and apprenticeships on major infrastructure projects including Crossrail, CVB JV – Thames Tideway East and Network Rail. It was refreshing to see their approach to the people who come in and use the services of the 999 Club. Where some might see a group of rough sleepers, Build London saw “a good bunch of candidates”.
For the final session, participants visited the CVB JV – Thames Tideway East offices at Chambers Wharf for mock interviews, some of them so smartly dressed they were almost unrecognisable. Managers and staff went out of their way to make all the visitors from the 999 Club feel very welcome.
Experiencing homelessness often has a negative affect on people’s self esteem, and what may seem like a great opportunity, such as a job interview, can actually feel very intimidating. Forward thinking employers such as CVB JV – Thames Tideway East can help people to keep a home by providing experiences that rebuild that self esteem, reminding people that they can walk into imposing office buildings and do well at job interviews. As one participant said:
“They are great at confidence building and a company that instils self-worth in individuals. Respect was always shown to the trainees no matter what race, gender and background. It was a totally amazing experience for me. I think the course should have been longer, with more modules, as it was so educational and enjoyable.”
The participants valued the chance to concentrate during the sessions. And the feeling that the health and safety sessions were applicable to the workplace gave everyone involved a sense that they were involved in something truly purposeful.
For people who have been homeless, an opportunity to work for an organisation that celebrates their achievement in getting off the streets is much more welcome than concealing their experience for fear of discrimination in the recruitment process. Along with our other employability partners, CVB JV – Thames Tideway East show real commitment to helping people, not only through volunteering their time to come and work with us, but also in their willingness to recruit people who have experienced homelessness.