New Employability and Skills Lead for Orbit

Orbit has welcomed a new Employability and Skills Lead as part of its strategy to improve the social, environmental and economic prospects of its customers.

Cherise Palmer, Orbit’s new Employability and Skills Lead

Cherise Palmer joins the leading housing provider and housebuilder from Birmingham South and City College where she worked with the Local Authority, feeder schools, and looked after children and adult learners in the region to promote post-16 education and training.

As part of Orbit’s new Thriving Communities Strategy, Cherise will take the lead on reviewing the employment and skills services that Orbit offers to customers via its Better Days programme to ensure that people are getting the right support to learn new skills, find work and further their careers.

Better Days, which is open to all Orbit customers, offers free support on a range of issues including managing finances, employment and skills, mental health and general wellbeing.

Cherise said: “Helping people to access the right employment and skills services unlocks so much potential. In the current climate, helping people into work or better jobs maximises their income with obvious benefits. But there are other benefits too. For example, supporting someone to improve their literacy and numeracy not only makes them more employable but suddenly they’re also more able to take charge of day-to-day tasks, they’re more confident and sociable. By working closely with customers, our Place Area Leads, local partners and employers, I want to extend the reach of our support and help more and more of our customers to fulfill their potential.”

In 2021/22, over 5,000 Orbit customers, alongside a cohort of non-Orbit customers living in and around Orbit communities, accessed its Better Days services. The strategy aims to build on this success and allow for increased participation in the design and co-production of the Better Days provision, involving communities and customers in determining and acting on local priorities.

Recently, Orbit announced that fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA) would be providing specialist energy advice for its customers and that it was launching a Welfare Benefits Advice Service which will support around 1,200 tenants and homeowners who need help to understand and apply for the benefits that they’re eligible for as well as providing coaching about how to become more financially resilient.

Other support measures include a new cost-of-living education hub on Orbit’s customer website, a furnished home pilot to help customers out of furniture poverty, and an increase in capacity to Orbit’s existing mental health support Breathing Space commissioned with Mind and Aspire4u.