Alconbury job scheme sets Ryan off for glossy career


Ryan Holliday is one of the first to benefit from the Alconbury Weald development. Ryan was one of eleven local young men who took part in a Groundwork Green Skills project on the former airfield.

During the project Ryan picked up skills and qualifications to help find a job, as well as taking part in interview practice with real companies looking to fill vacancies. SJS Property Services was one of the companies involved in the interviews and saw the potential in Ryan.

SJS Managing Director Scott Spence said:

"Getting involved in the project was great, and there were a few people we were interested in taking on, but Ryan shone out. In my business, I need not only to know I have got a hardworking and skilled team, but they also need to have the customer service skills to work in people's homes and businesses, and to represent my company appropriately.

"Since we recruited Ryan, we've been able to develop his skills and confidence, and he is now supervising and training some of the newer staff members I’ve taken on. Business is really booming at the moment, and Ryan has quickly become a key member of my team."

The six week Green Skills programme was delivered by Groundwork Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in partnership with Huntingdonshire Regional College and Urban & Civic.  It involved 11 people aged 18-24 (selected from a group of 40 applicants) who worked on the construction of a community tree nursery at Alconbury Weald, as well as learning in the classroom to support them in gaining a construction skills health, safety and environment card.  The project also enabled the participants to obtain a City & Guilds qualification in Employability and Personal Development, gain practical landscaping skills, and improve their interview skills and confidence to help them to progress into employment and further training.

Ryan, 21, from Sawtry, added:

"It was hard work doing the initial Green Skills project, and I really wanted to ensure I got the most out of it and had the chance to prove what I could do. Scott’s given me that chance, and I really enjoy the work – especially because each day and each job is different.”

Jonathan Djanogly MP came to Alconbury Weald to meet Ryan and see how local businesses - like site owners Urban&Civic and SJS - are working with the Jobcentre, local colleges and local authorities to provide opportunities to people.

Jonathan said:

"SJS is a great example of a successful local company which is committed to Huntingdonshire and wants to ensure it's success opens opportunities for others. Projects like Green Skills and the planned Grassroots project give people a chance to show their potential to employers, and employers can in turn call on a range of partners for training and support. It is great to see - even in the earliest days of this twenty year development - that Alconbury Weald is starting to deliver these opportunities and bring real economic opportunities to the area."

Chris Dungate, from Groundwork Cambridgeshire & Peterborough said

“Green Skills is a fantastic final stepping stone in to securing employment.  It helps volunteers gain valuable experience and qualifications while also working with local businesses to create opportunities for some of the participants on completion of the project.  With the Groundwork Grassroots project delivering many more of these projects over the next year we hope to provide many more opportunities to the local community and businesses”

Rebecca Britton, from Alconbury Weald said:

"We are so pleased that our pilot scheme for the Green Skills project has delivered real results. We understand that 7 of the 10 people who took part are now in work, which is a great result. We hope it is just the start of things to come. Working with Groundwork Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and other partners we have secured funding from the LEP for further Green Skills Projects in Huntingdon and on site here at Alconbury Weald during 2014. We hope we can continue to help people secure the jobs that will come on site with the planned construction and landscaping here and as the Huntingdonshire economy grows."

Further information:

To find out more about the Grassroots Project - which will deliver a number of Green Skills projects and other projects aimed at equipping people for work in Huntingdon and on Alconbury Weald - please call Chris Dungate tel: 07872 400 778 or e-mail or visit: The next Green Skills project will run in May 2014.

Grassroots is funded by the Local Enterprise Partnership's Prize Challenge Fund and by contributions from partners including Urban&Civic, Huntingdonshire District Council. More information about the Fund is available from

The first Green Skills Team was held in March/April in 2013. Further details at It was supported by a partnership of Urban&Civic, Huntingdonshire District Council, Huntingdonshire Regional College, Jobcentre Plus and Cambridgeshire County Council.