Construction has given Joseph a second chance

Posted 13/05/2021

As part of its social value strategy, Higgins is committed to working with social enterprises to support offenders, ex-offenders and homeless people into employment and apprenticeship opportunities.

Islington resident, Joseph had a challenging start to his life and after finding himself on the wrong side of the law at a young age, he ended up in prison. After serving his time, he was released and found himself homeless and struggled to get back on his feet.

However, Joseph was determined to rebuild his life and wanted to pursue a career where he could gain new skills and a renewed sense of confidence. In 2019 Joseph was referred by Islington Council to social enterprise Beam, an organisation backed by the Mayor of London and leading UK tech entrepreneurs, which crowdfunds to help find new employment opportunities and housing for homeless people.

After raising £4,368 through the crowdfunding with Beam, Joseph completed his entry level plumbing course and gained experience in carpentry and general maintenance.

Higgins worked closely with Beam to explore opportunities to enable Joseph to further his career in construction and ensure he felt fully prepared for his new role after successfully passing the interview process for Traffic Marshal at Higgins’s Telfer House project.

As well as helping him to secure a CSCS card and traffic marshal ticket, Higgins also worked closely with him to prepare him for the role and to understand what to expect. Although slightly apprehensive to start, Joseph’s enthusiasm and motivation meant he felt excited to work hard and succeed in the role.

Amy Ross, Head of Social Value at Higgins Partnerships comments, “We are really pleased to work in partnership with organisations like Beam, which work to give people a second chance and their first step into employment in construction. Although Joseph has only been with us a short time, he has already proved to be a great asset to Higgins, and we look forward to seeing his career progress in the future.”

Joseph’s exceptional work ethic has also meant he is now living in a flat in Islington and finally has a stable position.

Joseph said, “I have worked on a number of different sites before and the atmosphere with Higgins is very different and I am really enjoying my time so far, getting to know new people and the team have been really friendly. The site manager in particular has been really helpful, supportive and honest when communicating with me, which I respect and I have already significantly improved my communications skills, especially when speaking to management and I feel more confident in myself.

“I want to continue to gain more skills and knowledge within the industry and eventually become an established plumber and have my own business.”

At Telfer House Higgins is replacing the aging 1960s low rise residential block with a brand new high quality part five storey, part six storey building with 38 mixed tenure one, two and three bedroom apartments for existing and future residents.

The much needed new homes will provide 68% social rent and 32% private sale apartments, with the private sale raising capital to help fund the project, alongside the GLA funding secured by Islington Council.