Employment and Skills Centre celebrates first birthday

The start of February marked the end of an incredibly successful first year for the Catalyst Gateway Employment and Skills Centre. Over the last 12 months the centre has helped 1,100 people struggling to find work, across Ealing and its surrounding areas, discover training and employment opportunities.

A special event was held to give those living the in the area the perfect opportunity to speak to local employers and learn about the work experience and training they offer. Over a hundred people visited the centre to join in the celebrations, many of whom signed up to an employability and skills workshop that started the next day. Ealing Council were also in attendance and gave a special talk on the upcoming benefit changes which was attended by over 20 local people.

One of the key aspects of the Employment and Skills Centre is working in partnership with businesses to offer pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship schemes. It is increasingly recognised by businesses that apprentices are a more desirable candidate for employment than those straight out of mainstream education and with the cost of going to university soaring, apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for young people to earn as they learn.

Twenty eight young people, who were out of work, have successfully completed an apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship programmes with Catalyst Gateway. Since finishing all apprentices have moved into full time work and the pre-apprentices will soon be starting a work experience scheme with Ardmore Construction.  In recognition of their success and hard work, Rod Cahill, chief executive of Catalyst Housing and Helen Cantrell, managing director of Catalyst Gateway awarded them with certificates.  

Helen Cantrell, managing director of Catalyst Gateway:

“The Employment and Skills Centre has become a valuable resource for the people of Ealing. By offering a variety of workshops, training and apprenticeship opportunities we are able to help those with a broad range of employment needs. Over the coming year we will be building on new initiatives such as Great Grass (an IT skills programme), which is developed in partnership with Brentford FC, to help even more people.”

Masooma Okera successfully completed an apprenticeship with the Employment and Skills Centre. Masooma now works for Catalyst Housing as a trainee neighbourhood manager:

“The Catalyst Gateway team offered me a ton of support, helping me with my CV and interview techniques.  With their help I applied for one of the housing apprenticeships at Catalyst Housing. I had just finished studying IT at college and hadn’t considered working in housing. I enjoyed my apprenticeship and I’m really excited about my new position as a trainee neighbourhood manager.”