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Author Archives: Mark Hesford

From apprentices to permanent employees

Apprenticeships are a great way of starting a new career or getting back into work.

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week, here’s a short film about four people we helped to become apprentices at Northwards Housing. All four have now gone on to permanent jobs with the company! Watch to find out what difference the experience has made to their lives…

Want to start your own business?

Have you always dreamed of being your own boss? We could offer you up to £5,000 to start your own business!

Call Diane to start getting your business off the ground

Call Diane to start getting your business off the ground

We’ve got £150,000 in total to give out in loans to people who have a great idea for a start-up business, with a further £15,000 exclusively available for people in Collyhurst.

As well as a loan of between £500-£5,000, you will get our expert advice and guidance to help you get up and running.

This fantastic opportunity is ONLY open to people living in north Manchester.

We’re working with Northwards Housing, as well as the Housing Association Charitable Trust and Community Development Finance Association to provide the funding. The ultimate decision on whether the funding is approved is taken by Business Finance Soiutions.

For further information or to apply, call Diane at yes on 0161 720 4090.

This girl is on fire!

Our very own Diane Roberts braved hot coals to raise money for the Factory Youth Zone!

The Factory, based in Harpurhey, is a great facility that helps young people learn new skills, develop their confidence and above all, have fun.

Diane volunteered to walk over hot coals for them at their Factory Firewalk in November. She’s already raised more than £400!

Here she is, channeling her inner Katniss from the Hunger Games!

One Year On!

It’s been 12 months since we officially launched yes!

It’s been an incredible year. Over 12,000 people have used our facility in Newton Heath, and we’ve directly helped 120 people to land a job or get into training. To celebrate, we caught up with four of the first customers we ever helped to see how they’re getting on one year down the line. Zach, Habib, Kersha and Teresa all started apprenticeships at Manchester Working. Here’s their stories…

Zach Anderton Zach Anderton

With a string of different jobs behind him, Zach believes he’s finally found the ideal industry for him. Last year, the 20-year-old began an apprenticeship as an Estimator with Manchester Working, which carries out repairs, maintenance and improvements to properties across the city.

“I just like everything about the job,” he said. “I used to have jobs that I hated, but it’s different here. I’ve got the pleasure of working with some great people. I feel valued.

“I like the construction industry a lot more than I thought I would. I used to think it was just people being told to put bricks here or there, but it’s a lot more complex than that.”

Zach, of Newton Heath, is responsible for carrying out site visits, meeting with clients and sub-contractors, evaluating the company’s work and keeping costs in check. He’s currently working towards completing an NVQ Level 3 in Construction Management, and was nominated as The Manchester College’s ‘Trainee of the Year’!

Habib Ahmed Habib Ahmed

After finding himself homeless, Habib is enjoying his first steps on a career path he hopes will lead to his dream of developing homes for others.

Following a fall-out with family, the 28-year-old lived on the streets of London before starting a new life in Manchester. He turned to yes for help finding a job and began an apprenticeship with Manchester Working as a painter and decorator.

One year on, Habib has nearly completed his first year of an NVQ in the skill. He’s now planning to return to yes for help plotting the next move in his journey to becoming a property developer: launching his own decorating business.

He said: “Back in the day, I couldn’t keep a job for six months, let alone a year. I used to mess around, but now I take pride in my work.

“Every day, you pick up new things. I like moving from site to site and learning new skills from people who’ve been doing the trade for years. Because I want to learn it, I focus more on the people who are teaching me.”

Habib, who now lives in Newton Heath, has come a long way from when he first started.  “I’ve had my disasters,” he said. “Once, I put the wrong paper up in one room, and in another, I put undercoat on the ceiling instead of emulsion!

“But practice makes perfect. Brushwork is just second nature to me now.”

Teresa Ruiz Martin Teresa Ruiz Martin

A visit to yes led to a big change in career for Theresa after landing a role as a Trainee Planner for Manchester Working.

“I used to work in administration,” she said, “but the technical skills I’ve learned here have helped me take a big step in a new direction.”

Teresa is currently working towards completing an NVQ Level 3 in Construction in the Built Environment. She’s one of the only women on her course.

“I think it’s nice to have a woman’s touch in construction,” she said. “The industry is very different to what I’ve done before, but I’ve enjoyed learning new things, like working in procurement and buying materials.”

Kersha Barber kersha

A year after a trip to yes helped Kersha find a job with Manchester Working, the teenager is really enjoying the benefits of a regular wage.

She said: “My friends may have more spare time than me, but I’ve got a lot more money than them for going out with!”

Kersha, of Blackley, became an Admin Assistant for Manchester Working and is studying towards an NVQ in Customer Service.

“I’ve become a lot more confident than I was in college,” she said. “I feel like I’ve matured more. I think it comes from working with lots of different people, some a lot older than me.”

The 18-year-old found it easy to settle into the role. “I’d only just come out of college when I started,” she said, “so I picked things up really quickly because I was used to learning.

“The best bit is that I get to do different things every day, from data entry to raising jobs with the operatives.

“I really enjoy the job and hope to stay doing admin in the future.”

We Won!

We’ve won an award for tackling worklessness from the National Federation of ALMOs (NFA). NFA Awards Win We had a great time picking up the prize at a glitzy ceremony at the Midland Hotel on 16th July 2014. Here’s what the NFA had to say about us: “yes proactively targets local businesses to ring-fence some of their vacancies for local people, and since opening nine months ago more than 3,000 people have walked through the doors and 94 people have found work or training. Twelve of these success stories had been unemployed two years or more, and one person had previously been on incapacity benefit for 16 years.” Read more about the awards.

Support for young parents (16-17)

• Are you a young parent aged 16 to 17?
• Not sure what to do next?
• How about courses, activities, access to facilities and fun stuff?
• How about help with finding college courses, training, apprenticeships or work?
• How about backup for six months after you start college or work?

Gingerbread can help. For more info call or txt Natalie on 07917 433 688 or email

Find out more about Gingerbread on Facebook:

Check out our Annual Report

We held our very first Annual General Meeting in June. It was a great chance to share some of our success stories with partners, customers and volunteers.

Andrew Bell, a former volunteer who now works for us, receives an award for all the time from Anne Taylor, our Chair of the Board. The award celebrates all the hours he devoted to helping us succeed.

Andrew Bell, a former volunteer who now works for us, receives an award from Anne Taylor, our Chair of the Board. The award celebrates all the hours he devoted to helping us succeed!

Since we opened in August 2013, more than 3,000 people have walked through our doors and over 100 people have found jobs or gone into training.

Our AGM saw the launch of our Annual Report. It was a chance to reflect on our success and share our plans for the future.

We’d really like to expand and open new centres in other parts of north Manchester. We’re also looking into offering loans to local people who need a hand setting up their own businesses.

Anne Taylor, our Chair of the Board, gave out certificates to volunteers who have clocked up hundreds of hours of time between themselves helping to make yes a success!

Thank you to everyone who has helped us make our first nine months BRILLIANT! For more details on what we’ve achieved and our plans for the future, read our Annual Report.

Our 100th Success: Lynn’s Landed a Job at John Lewis!

Lynn Smith has become the 100th person we’ve helped into work or training since we opened our doors last August!

Success tastes sweet for Lynn (left) and our Diane

Success tastes sweet for Lynn (left) and our Diane

After 30 years, the 53-year-old was made redundant from her data entry job at a catalogue returns centre.

Now, three months later, she’s looking forward to starting a new career as an inbound customer services advisor at John Lewis.

Lynn, of Newton Heath, said: “I’d heard about yes, so I came in and found out about a course they were running in customer services. Through that, I became a volunteer here. It really built up my confidence, helping the customers.

“I’ve been applying for lots of jobs, but I think that without my experience here, the journey back into work would’ve been a lot longer.”

Diane Roberts, our employability support manager, said: “There’s been a lot of blood, sweat and tears to reach this milestone. We’re absolutely delighted to have helped so many people, and can’t wait to make a difference in the lives of many, many more.”