MORE THAN a dozen people were recognised for their excellence in employment skills and innovation at the Cornwall WISE awards.
The panel for the seventh annual awards, held at Newquay's Headland Hotel, was joined by Theresa Middleton, of Falfish, and Michael Rabone, of the Seafood Restaurant, to help the judging.
Esther McVey, Minister of State for Employment, said: "Congratulations to all the winners of this year's Cornwall Works WISE Awards – the stories of individual success and the contributions of the winning organisations serve as inspirations to us all. Investing in our workforce, supporting people into work and boosting their skills are a vital part of rebuilding our economy now and in the future."
Meet the WISE winners:
Welfare to work – organisation/group – Cornwall Library Service
Using a small team of online support, the service has helped individuals in the community gain confidence in IT literacy by offering basic computer skills courses in local branches. Discussions with Jobcentre Plus led to the establishment of drop-in support for jobseekers to help 100 people access jobs, create e-mail accounts and update CVs. The success of the pilot led to the development of Proper Job – a year-long funded project to establish job clubs in 30 libraries across Cornwall with 192 library staff trained to support jobseekers.
Innovation – individual: Henry Ward
Henry, who works for Cockwells Boat Yard in Mylor, has also set up his own company designing luxury yachts. His designs are being snapped up by international companies. He graduated in transport design from the University of Huddersfield and soon began work for Cockwells, under the Unlocking Potential scheme. His design for a 46ft, £1.5 million boat with a diamond encrusted spa has been bought by French company Spire Boat.
Innovation – group/organisation: Joint winner: Kier Living and Jobcentre Plus Cornwall
Kier Living and Redruth Jobcentres have worked together with the Work Skills Training Academy and Cornwall College to provide real-life work experience for jobseekers. The resulting Cornwall College Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) construction course includes the compulsory Health and Safety Awareness in Construction Unit and an opportunity of work placement at a local Kier construction site. The ten-day, classroom-based course delivered by the work skills training academy has been recognised by the Construction Industry Training Board as the only example in the country integrated with the Jobcentre Plus and the industry.
Skills – Individual: Chris Mayer
Chris began as a volunteer with Truro-based Active Plus to keep him occupied, having served in the Army with the Queen's Regiment and Princess of Wales Regiment until 1996 and having been diagnosed in 2004 with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His service had included being alone and undercover in Northern Ireland, and as a medic in Bosnia. After leaving the service he struggled to maintain a job due to his PTSD. The unique way Chris delivered first aid courses for Active Plus using his personal experiences made them more interesting and helped him become more involved and proactive.
He also helped to develop a field craft course which he delivers to college students struggling with the education system. He is also now part of Helston Community College's Phoenix Project team working with vulnerable young people.
Skills – Group/Organisation: Cornwall College
Skills Support for Your Workforce, led by The Cornwall College Group, helps address skills gaps identified by employers, delivering training on behalf of it, DMT Business Services, Focus Training, Petroc, Education and Training Skills, the Learning Partnership, General Physics, Cornwall Council and Truro and Penwith College.
Employers Committed to Welfare to Work: Haven Holidays
For more than ten years, Haven Holidays, in Hayle and Perranporth, has worked alongside Jobcentre Plus to hold recruitment open days in Jobcentres across Cornwall, guaranteeing interviews for customers. This year it has worked with Cornwall College on a pre-recruitment course to help jobseekers. They conducted 384 interviews resulting in 100 job starts so far.
Employer committed to Skills in the Workplace: Blue Flame
Blue Flame, based in Penryn, was founded in 1988 to provide heating solutions to domestic and commercial premises, and has 80 employees, 55 field staff, and 25 support staff, of which 17 are apprentices. More than 25 people have been through its apprenticeship programme since 1992.