From Grassroots to full-time jobs at Alconbury Weald


Two local unemployed volunteers have secured permanent jobs on the first phase of the Enterprise Zone at Alconbury Weald after completing a Grassroots skills and training course run by community charity Groundwork.

Gary Taylor and Anthony Chard were part of a group that helped to expand the Community Tree Nursery at Alconbury Weald.  Participants were given a chance to gain experience and qualifications to help them find work, particularly in the construction and landscaping industry.

The Grassroots programme feeds into a jobs and skills brokerage scheme at Alconbury Weald.  Urban&Civic has been working with local partners from the start to maximise the employment opportunities on its site for local people and is part of a Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) National Skills Academy, which works with contractors to take on and train local people.

As part of this framework, Huntingdon-based contractors J Breheny interviewed some of the successful Grassroots participants and, following a four-week trial at Alconbury Weald, offered Gary and Anthony permanent jobs.

James Stevenson, Contracts Manager for J Breheny said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Urban&Civic to deliver this exciting new project to the local area.  As a local company this will give us the opportunity to help in the regeneration of the local area.

“We will continue to seek people with the required skills to fill the increasing industry-wide skills shortage and look forward to working with Urban&Civic and Groundwork to find more people like Gary and Anthony.”

Rebecca Britton, Urban&Civic’s Head of Communities and Partnerships for Alconbury Weald said: “We hope Anthony and Gary are the first of many local people who can benefit from the opportunities generated by this 20 year development. The flexible and tailored support that Grassroots provides – which is Groundwork’s strength – is a fundamental part of that. It works well with the existing provision from the Jobcentre, local authorities, local colleges and others by providing a real route into work for people.” 

Gary Taylor said: “I found out about Grassroots through Jobcentre Plus.  It helped me a lot.  When you’ve been unemployed for a while, getting a job is hard work.  This has been a really good step for me and I’m grateful to Groundwork and J Breheny for the opportunities.”

The Grassroots scheme was initially funded by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Economic Partnership’s Prize Challenge Fund with match funding contributions from Huntingdonshire District Council and Urban & Civic. It will now form part of the EDGE – a jobs and skills brokerage scheme supporting Alconbury Weald and the surrounding area.

Groundwork will be running a series of Green Skills courses across Huntingdonshire during 2015. If you would like to find out more information please email or call Alconbury Weald on 01480 413141.

A full case study of Gary and Anthony’s story is available here.