Unemployed for maintenance

Published: Friday, 26 March 2010

IN AN attempt to help with the lack of maintenance of the waterways, British Waterways and Groundwork Black Country have joined to provide the unemployed to undertake some of the work.

For the next six months 100 unemployed people  are being given the opportunity to make a fresh start by taking part in a scheme to work on the West Midlands waterways.

The scheme is part of the Government's Future Jobs Fund programme and is being run jointly between British Waterways and Groundwork Black Country. Eligible individuals have been referred from their local Job Centres and placed into teams, and will be  carrying out basic maintenance work on the canals.

The teams have been spread across Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Dudley and Walsall where they have been painting locks, repairing towpaths, carrying out bank protection works, cutting back vegetation and removing litter.

Back into employment

Over the course of the six months the initiative coupled with one to one employment support and training, will give the team skills, experience and confidence that could help them back into employment.

A spokesman explained:

"The teams are employed for four days per week, three days per week working on site and one day per week training. Before commencing works those taking part were given a comprehensive induction and safety training to ensure that they are competent to carry out each of the tasks."

Funding for the programme has been provided by each of the Black Country Authorities through the Future Jobs Fund initiative.