Delivering the programme was part of Wandsworth Council’s plans for a £1.9m scheme to explore, restore, conserve and enhance the cultural and natural heritage of Tooting Common, in the south London borough.
The project helps local people gain new skills and employment locally and gives contractor idverde a pool of candidates for future job opportunities. idverde worked with Wandsworth Council, Enable Leisure and Culture, SLIC Training, and Job Centre Plus Wandsworth to deliver the Tooting Common Heritage Project’s Employment Skills and Learning Project.
The first group of 15 candidates started a bespoke Level 1 City and Guilds Diploma in Land Based Studies (Environmental Conservation) course in October 2016. Of these 11 passed with merits, and four, distinctions, and were awarded their certificates last month.
idverde assistant director customer support Andrew Kauffman said: "It is great to see the confidence of candidates grow during the course. To then see them moving into full time employment is extremely rewarding, and testament to the dedication of all involved, but particularly the hard work of the candidates themselves."
Participant Dameon Napoli said: "I have loved worked outside in the fresh air. I was working in a betting shop before this, so a big change – totally different. I live locally and have always brought my children here to play. Now I have made a positive impact on this space – it’s great. As well as that, I’ve learnt some new skills and got some more qualifications, so it’s all good."
Wandsworth Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for community services Jonathan Cook met idverde staff and candidates.
"You could see their enthusiasm and the candidates’ desire for a career in ground maintenance and landscape conservation, and I’m delighted these training opportunities are being seized," he said. "It’s great to see the borough’s residents taking a hands-on role in restoring this wonderful historic common."