5: The Guinness Partnership (East Midlands and the North of England)

The Guinness Partnership runs a range of initiatives to help people find employment, including offering apprenticeships through its social enterprise that are open to tenants and the wider community. Alongside this it also offers in-work support. This includes careers and further training advice designed to help people move up the career ladder, and funding to enable residents to undertake this training. This is provided through Guinness’ self-funded Aspire Awards, open to residents aged 16 and over. Awards have been given to cover the costs of course fees and materials in qualifications such as a Diploma in Accounting. The awards are presented annually and last year more than £20,000 was awarded to 25 tenants.29

Beyond additional training, self-employment can also provide a route out of minimum wage jobs.30 In recognition of this, Guinness runs an eight-week self-employment training course in partnership with the Work Programme provider Avanta. The course costs £500 per person, with the majority of the funding provided through the Work Programme and Skills Funding Agency. However, to enable tenants that don’t meet the requirements to receive training under either of these streams to take part, Guinness contributes around £5,000-£6,000 to expand the number of places available. When the course has been completed tenants can run a business from their own home. Typically businesses set up include child-minding, using part of the home as an office, hair or beauty treatments and cleaning services.

The housing association also offers a package of support to help tenants overcome multiple barriers to sustained work through its Tenancy Sustainment Team. The team provides advice, counselling and referrals to specialist organisations on a range of factors that can be the root cause of unemployment, including literacy problems, substance misuse, domestic violence and health problems.


  • 29 Centre for cities interviews
  • 30 Department for Business Innovation and Skills (2012) Welfare to Self-employment