For more than a year we have been working with Job Centre Plus offices to run Green Teams across Cornwall. Our pilot project involved 24 people taking part in a six-week long project which saw them get hands on with gardening and landscaping tasks, while developing key skills and experience such as time management, self discipline, building relationships and team work.
The aim of the Green Teams has been to improve self confidence and motivation in the participants by working in landscaping and horticulture rather than for the group to develop specific skills.
“It was great to get out in different areas and getting thanks and appreciation for the work we’ve done.’’ Green Team member
Many of the participants who took part have been unemployed for extended periods of time, with some resistant to the Green Team idea based on their preconceptions of training schemes. However, within days the team was full of enthusiasm and dedicated to the project, including those who were reluctant to work in the ‘great outdoors’.
The pilot was so successful that four more job centres requested to run Green Team projects. Building on the initial programme, we increased the days per week for participants (from two to four) and, importantly, included a qualification in the scheme - a Green Team Award accredited by AQA.
The Green Teams are managed and organised by a Project Officer who researches, devises and coordinates all aspects of the teams’work, from liaising with clients to managing risk assessments.
Tasks are found in a variety of interesting locations and landscapes and are performed for community clients, such as charities, ‘friends of’ groups, local authorities and housing associations.
Green Team participants have built new relationships with people, visited and worked in unfamiliar places and many have decided to volunteer with the projects they initially worked on.
At the end of the programme, many of participants’feedback surveys revealed they felt very positive about the programme helping them to develop pride in their achievements, and potential new routes for future employment and training.
Contact Groundwork Devon and Cornwall for more information:
Link: Career Changing Apprentices in Cornwall
Groundwork South—Devon & Cornwall Area
Read more about our Green Team initiatives.