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Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) Programme
Boys on FilmDuring 2010/11 over 40 individuals started on the programme, with 36 completing their contracts. Many of these employees achieved literacy and numberacy qualifications as well as Emergency Aid in the Workplace and CIEH Basic Health and Safety Training. As a result of the programme a number of allotments and community sites have been cleared along with 160 residential gardens! View the film below to find out more about the impact that this Programme has had on the lives of the participants, and the local people receiving the service.

Intermediate Labour Market Programme - Case Studies

Some names have been changed to protect identities.



“I was out of work for five years and in that time I was doing permitted work. I was doing gardening work for elderly people; mowing and weeding borders, planting flowers for them in the spring and maintaining the garden through the summer. I was seeing my advisor at the job centre and they asked me if I was interested in going on a 6 month gardening course with Shaw Trust.”

Peter attended an interview and was offered the position of Assistant Gardener on our Bolsover ILM Horticulture Programme.

“I got my Health and Safety certificate and First Aid with them. I also attended training for my maths and English and got a certificate for them. Shaw Trust has helped me a lot and I am getting more confidence in myself now”.

Since completing his ILM programme Peter applied for a fixed term contract with Shaw Trust as a Gardening Maintenance Supervisor working on our social enterprise programme assisting with delivering our commercial contracts.

“I am working for Shaw Trust now and I have gone from an ILM Assistant Gardener to Gardening Supervisor, all thanks to Shaw Trust. I never thought that I would be doing what I am doing now, if I didn’t have the help and support of Shaw Trust.”

Peter has recently been filmed and interviewed with his work colleagues  by Bolsover District Council to produced a DVD aimed to highlight the programme and individuals progression and achievements to date. Peter’s personal thoughts and opinions along with his colleagues reinforce the need for support programmes made possible through WNF and the difference to people lives it can make!



Brian is a middle aged gentleman, who lives within Bolsover and had previously been claiming Job Seekers Allowance before being informed by his personal adviser of the Bolsover ILM Horticulture Programme.

Prior to claiming, Brian had been working on a 3 month trial at Tesco Distribution Centre, but had to leave due to an illness after being unemployed for 2 years.  Brian left school in 1980 and became a Car Valeter/Driver, since then his major employment has been within the engineering industry for approximately 20 years before being made redundant.

Brian applied and was offered the position of an ILM Assistant Gardener with Shaw Trust and commenced work in January 2011.

“After being accepted, I began to look forward to a working routine again. Whilst with Shaw Trust, I passed a Health & Safety course, Workplace First Aid course, and gained Level 2 in Maths & English as part of my personal development plan within my contract.  I enjoyed the banter of being part of a team again, gaining experience with mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters and repeatedly using hoes, forks, spades and rakes.  We were regularly involved with the community working on gardens, allotments, and large un-touched areas and collecting feedback forms for feedback and future projects.  Simon, my supervisor was always helpful and instructive, giving handy hints and tips along the way.  This experience has opened my eyes to outdoor creativity and acknowledgement of keeping and maintaining a garden. An enjoyable 18 weeks which flew by!”

After Brian’s contract ended in May 2011 and despite applying for numerous vacancies Brian sadly found himself back at the Jobcentre claiming benefits.  However, behind the scenes Shaw Trust was looking at ways to utilise the skilled workforce the programme had created by setting up a social enterprise. Then came the launch of Shaw Trust’s Gardening Services, local work for local people. With the help of Bolsover District Council a pilot scheme was undertaken to carry out a grounds maintenance service recruiting a number of Assistant Gardeners and a Supervisor enabling previous ILM employees to apply.

Brian along with a number of other ex ILM employees applied for the various positions and as a result was successful in securing a fixed term contract as an Assistant Gardener.

Brian is still with Shaw Trust utilising the skills and knowledge he gained through the support of the Bolsover ILM Horticulture programme.



‘David’ before starting with Shaw Trust as an Assistant Gardener was unemployed and had been claiming Job Seekers Allowance since Jan 2010. Previously to this he had been employed in various short term positions in a variety of security and customer facing roles.

He started with Shaw Trust on 10 October 2010 after applying through  Jobcentre Plus.

“While working with Shaw Trust I learnt a lot on how to do gardening, gained several qualification’s Health & Safety, First Aid, English and maths through SLIC Training. Rob who is the trainer on SLIC was very helpful and gave me the help I needed especially when it came to maths because that wasn’t my best subject at school."

“The staff at Shaw Trust Chesterfield were very helpful in every way, answered any problems I had, gave me the confidence I needed when going to interviews and how to prepare spec letters and do CV’s.  During my time with Shaw Trust they got me a placement working at Riverside Garden Centre at Chesterfield which was very helpful because I learnt a lot there working with the landscaping team and the staff were great.”

The additional placement gave ‘David’ the opportunity to broaden his skill base to include aggregates and landscaping with the additional benefit of obtaining an additional employer referee.

“Getting close to end of my contract with Shaw Trust which I was due to complete in April it was looking dull not getting into full time employment. On the day before my contract finished I was contacted by Veolia Environmental Services which was a job they helped me to apply for and was offered full time employment which I am currently in now.”  ‘David’



Dale had the misfortune to be made redundant in May 2009 following nine years with the same employer working in an accounts processing position, involving data entry.  Shortly after he broke his foot and was in plaster.  During this period, Dale was still looking for work on the internet at home to try and find work even though he had been told no one would consider him for a position while he was unfit to work. 

October 2009 when his foot was almost fully healed Dale was transferred onto Job Seekers Allowance and began actively seeking employment, submitting several applications and speculative letters on a weekly basis.

“Despite this I had very little response back, there seemed to be very little work out there and I began to think that nobody would be willing to take me on or give me a chance as I had been out of work for so long and felt like I was losing my skills as I could not keep them up to date. This continued into 2010 and I continued applying but only managed to get one interview during this time that didn't come to anything.  Then in the spring of 2010 I was given an application form for the Bolsover ILM Horticulture Programme working for Shaw Trust.”

Dale was offered a six month contract and joined Shaw Trust as an Assistant Gardener in June 2010. 

“During this time I have worked as an Assistant Gardener and have thoroughly enjoyed both working outside doing this type of work and learning new skills including how to use all the various gardening tools and machinery.  Shaw Trust supported me well during this period, one day per week was spent on undertaking and gaining maths and English at Level 2 with SLIC training as well as qualifications in Health and Safety, and Emergency First Aid.  In addition within my employment Shaw Trust gave me helpful advice on all aspects of job seeking including preparing my CV, letter writing skills and interview tips, which was invaluable.  Over the six months I felt that I had developed new skills and knowledge, resulting in the confidence towards the end of the contract to apply for a vacancy within Shaw Trust and was fortunate enough to gain the position of Support Officer.”

“I am now supporting others who are in the same situation that I was and feel that my experience means that I can empathise with them and know what will be helpful to them.  I have found this new position both enjoyable and rewarding and hope to secure further employment with Shaw Trust at the end of my current contract in order to keep offering support and guidance to people who have also experienced unemployment.”

Shaw Trust is delighted to welcome Dale back as a Support Officer. His own on programme experience enables Dale to relate well to the current ILM employees both as a returner to the labour market and the benefits of the provision.

“What better recommendation can a programme have when one of the beneficiaries is so motivated by their experience that it actually promotes a new career direction and the enthusiasm to showcase to other employees – ILM programmes can make a difference! “


'Darren' is a 50 year old gentleman from who had previously been self employed for 20 years undertaking painting and decorating contracts nationwide.  He became unemployed in June 2009 due to the recession when many business sites closed or work contracts were put on hold.

As a result of being unemployed for 12 months 'Darren' decided to review his career prospects to consider new opportunities in handyman, maintenance type work areas as branching out into general maintenance work proved more difficult than he expected. “I had my own business for 20 years but when all my contracts got put on hold or cancelled a year ago I had to go out and find a job and I’ve never been in that situation before. No-one would take me without horticultural experience and I just couldn’t get on the first step of the ladder,” he added.  This identified a skills gap in horticulture knowledge and experience which led him to apply for the position of Assistant Gardener with Shaw Trust.  'Darren' was successful with his application and commenced employment with Shaw Trust on the Bolsover ILM Programme in June 2010.  “So when I was offered Gardening Assistant with Shaw Trust I thought this was an excellent opportunity to gain six months gardening experience under my belt.  Now with this course behind me I’ll have a lot more to offer employers and although it doesn’t guarantee me a job at the end, with the help of Shaw Trust I am doing something positive to improve my chances,” said 'Darren'.

On the programme 'Darren' attended various training activities providing hands on experience in real life work situations with on going assessments which included the safe maintenance and operation of a selection of petrol powered tools, undertaking risk assessments, area and site preparation together with general garden clearing and maintenance tasks.  In addition 'Darren' undertook a range of training courses and achieved several qualifications:

  • Manual Handling Awareness Training
  • Emergency First Aid at Work Certificate
  • Health & Safety in the Workplace CIEH Level 2
  • Adult Numeracy Level 2 Certificate
  • Adult Literacy Level 2 Certificate

Whilst on the programme 'Darren' was supported with weekly job search activities to look at progression and sustainable employment opportunities. Within 'Darren's' last month on the programme he was invited to attend an interview for the position of General Maintenance Person with an employer who had several properties which needed to be maintained.

Following the interview 'Darren' was approached and offered the position by the employer and successfully started work with them on Monday 29 November 2010.

Congratulations 'Darren'!


'Nick' is a 35 year old man who had been claiming Job Seekers Allowance since becoming unemployed in Sept 2009. Previously 'Nick' had been employed in various job roles within the building trade and delivery services but had no previous experience in gardening or horticultural areas when he applied for the position of Assistant Gardener with Shaw Trust through the ILM Programme.

'Nick' successfully gained employment onto the ILM Programme on 29 June 2010 and went on to complete and gain certificates in First Aid and Health & Safety, as well attending a Manual Handling Awareness session. 'Nick' is currently attending an English and maths training programme to develop his current skills in line with his personal development plan.

On 6 July 2010 he joined the team out on gardening sites and from then on he quickly settled in and proved himself to be a valuable member of the team, hard working and keen to learn. Whilst being out on site he has been actively involved with a range of tasks from clearing allotment sites using a variety of equipment, to more delicate tasks such as pruning and maintaining an already established garden. 'Nick' is keen to volunteer, takes every opportunity to gain experience in new tasks and as a result proved himself competent in the correct and safe operation of the following petrol power tools;

  • Brush cutter – can operate safely and correctly clean and maintain and replace blades pending final assessment.
  • Lawn mower – can operate safely and correctly clean and maintain.
  • Hedge cutters – can operate safely and correctly clean and maintain.

'Nick' has proved himself to be health and safety conscious, regularly taking responsibility for undertaking risk assessments of sites and checking for any possible risks to himself and colleagues.

Following a successful interview at Riverside Garden Centre on 16 August 2010 'Nick' has now commenced a work experience placement for three days a week and feedback from his host employer is very positive and encouraging. Although actively continuing his job search we are working with the employer to look at suitable progression routes within their organisation.


'Daniel' is a 63 year old gentlemen who has a hearing impairment and was claiming Job Seekers Allowance.

'Daniel' was previously employed by a local employer where he had worked for the past 34 years before being made redundant. Prior to this he was employed as a miner for eight years. Since being made redundant he has attended a training course in November 2009 where he obtained a SIA Licence.

At interview 'Daniel' stated – “I am willing to work, just want a job.” Following his successful interview 'Daniel' was offered an employed position and started in his role as an Assistant Gardener with Shaw Trust on 2 June 2010 for 25 hours a week on a fixed term contract of 26 weeks.

Although somewhat quiet and withdrawn through the in-house induction process he has grown in confidence and is now actively participating in conversations and group activities within the team. To date 'Daniel' has a 100% attendance record.

Initial assessment had identified that 'Daniel's' current skills are Entry Level numeracy, Level 2 literacy and that additional support will be needed for numeracy and basic IT needs. Other areas identified were communication skills with regards adopting appropriate approaches and interaction with wider audiences and the public.

Horticulture was a new occupational area for him; he has proved himself to be keen to learn, listens and follows instructions, asks questions and completes task to a high standard.

Due to his hearing impairment we have supported 'Daniel' through a budding system enabling him to undertake training and supervision on a range of petrol powered gardening equipment such as hedge cutters, brush cutters and lawn mowers. As a result 'Daniel' will shortly be issued with his competency award and supported to access local job opportunities and/or external work experience placements for additional skills development.

To date 'Daniel' has successfully achieved Emergency Aid in the Work Place First Aid Certificate, undertaken Manual Handling and Basic Health & Safety Awareness training.

'Daniel' has also benefited due to having no personal transport from Ways to Work Bolsover project in accessing travel vouchers to support him get to his place of work in Bolsover and to attend training sessions in Chesterfield. 

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