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Manchester honoured in sustainability awards

20 Nov 2014

The University of Manchester has been ‘highly commended’ in the Green Gown Awards for ‘The Works’, an initiative which helps unemployed people resident in disadvantaged areas to improve their skills and employment prospects.

The University of Manchester is one of the largest employers in the North West, but it is also located close to areas which suffer amongst the highest levels of unemployment in the region. With this in mind, and a commitment to increasing the numbers of local people in its workforce, the University set out to use its influence to change the lives of local people for the better.

The Works, which was developed by the Directorate of Human Resources, offers jobseekers in areas neighbouring the university, such as Moss Side and Ardwick, help to improve their skills and, crucially, employment opportunities.

This has been achieved through a partnership with other large employers, including Royal Mail, BAM construction and Manchester Metropolitan University. The University ring-fences some vacancies specifically for The Works. A key partner in the development of this programme has been Manchester Solutions, which is one of the largest skills training agencies in the North West.

As of October 2014 more than 6,000 people have benefited from the support of The Works, which now runs from two different sites in Gorton and Moss Side.

Now in their 10th year, the Green Gown Awards recognise the exceptional sustainability initiatives being undertaken by universities and colleges across the UK.

The glittering black-tie event was this year held in the University’s Whitworth Hall on 3 November.

Steve Grant, the University’s Assistant Director of Human Resources, said: "This award builds upon our success at last years THE Awards where we won the Outstanding Contribution to the Local Community award. The Works is unique to higher education and is one of very few employer-led interventions in any sector nationally. We are making a significant difference to the lives of people who are our neighbours."