The Jericho Foundation, a Birmingham-based social enterprise, has increased its capabilities and expanded its range of recycled wood products, after delivering its first large scale order for Colmore Tang Construction (CTC).
The Wood Shack based in Nechells, part of the Jericho Foundation, received its largest ever order in volume and price, when the construction firm approached them to build 82 rooftop planters for Kettleworks - the deluxe Jewellery Quarter development of 292 one- and two-bedroom apartments it is delivering for Seven Capital.
The income generated by the project has enabled The Wood Shack to buy new machinery for its workshop, including a circular saw which was purchased specially for the planters. It has also helped improve the enterprise’s operational processes, as well as creating interest from other businesses wanting similar builds and generating new orders.
The Wood Shack assigned four of its apprentices to the manufacture, which was overseen by Production Supervisor Fraser Lewis. It enabled the team to learn new skills and expand their understanding of bespoke carpentry, whilst still working to get the order delivered on time.
“This has been a challenging but rewarding order,” said Fraser. “The apprentices were exposed to commercial deadlines, design criteria and a more production line style of working. It has also had the added bonus of increasing the apprentice’s skill base, which is what we are all about.”
Callum, aged 18, is six months in to his 12-month apprenticeship at The Wood Shack. He said: “As this is my first full-time job I had no idea how big projects like this could be.
“The partnership with Colmore Tang has showed us what it’s like to work on a commercial project production line with a deadline to meet. It’s thanks to partnerships like this that more people are recognising the work that Jericho is doing in the community and what it means to be an apprentice with the foundation.”
18-year-old Will, who is nearing the end of his apprenticeship, added: “I love that our work makes a difference in the community but also that the foundation is helping people who might otherwise struggle to find employment secure jobs. It’s really fulfilling.”
Steve Underwood, C.O.O. of CTC, said he was delighted that its collaboration with Jericho Foundation had helped to raise awareness about the social enterprises work and capabilities, which had led to it gaining new projects.
“We’re thrilled with our new planters for Kettleworks which the new residents will be able to enjoy for years to come,” he said. “The apprentices and their supervisor have done an exceptional job and the fact this is has led to new business for Jericho is great news for ensuring its future success.”
The Wood Shack is one of seven social enterprises operated by the Jericho Foundation in Birmingham, whose aim to help people become skilled, fulfilled and employed. The Jericho Foundation is one of the few charities in the UK to work with survivors of modern slavery, providing them with real work experience and on-the-job training. Its mentors and job coaches offer personal support, guidance and training.
It is estimated that there are more than 13,000 individuals who are currently in modern slavery and that Birmingham and the West Midlands has the highest concentration of survivors, outside of London.
Labour exploitation is the most recorded type of modern slavery. The construction sector accounts for approximately 10% of total employment in the UK and as such, is one of the industries identified as high risk for labour exploitation.
For more information about the Jericho Foundation visit www.jericho.org.uk.
PR by Reeves PR agency in Birmingham