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Workwise volunteers help to restore countryside

25 June 2012

A team of 10 volunteers, all of whom are currently unemployed, have been helping to restore the arboretum adjoining the Val de la Mare reservoir in St Ouen. 

The Workwise team, based at the Social Security Department, assist people who have barriers to employment and help to provide placements and work experience which are valuable additions to their CVs. Since April, 10 Workwise clients have been placed with Jersey Trees for Life and gained some of the vital skills needed to get closer to paid work.

Jersey Trees for Life arboriculturalist Conrad Evans has been overseeing the team, who have been busy strimming, clearing undergrowth and helping to restore the arboretum to its former glory. The arboretum covers an area of over 50,000 square metres, divided into 12 zones reflecting where the trees originate and there are many species from all over the world, including some examples rarely seen in Britain.

Mr Evans said “We were delighted to work with Workwise and the volunteers, who were able to get really stuck in with helping us to renovate the arboretum, gaining work experience and a reference as a result. This is a significant piece of work and will help us to celebrate our 75th anniversary in style.”

Social Security Minister Senator Francis Le Gresley said “The 6-week placement with Conrad and his team enabled our clients to gain vital skills, like team working and using tools, as well as gaining a crucial reference. One of the volunteers has since secured employment and feels that his work experience placement was crucial in helping him to gain paid work.”

“The potential for Workwise clients to move into open employment is greatly increased by taking part in schemes which show them what expectations an employer will have. The system relies on the goodwill of employers and we are grateful to those who engage with us to provide placements.”

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