Homeless people, who are working to rebuild their lives, are being given a helping hand by a unique initiative.

Ready for Work is run by Business in the Community, with the support of national and local businesses, specifically for people from homeless backgrounds. It provides homeless people with real opportunities to rebuild their lives by getting back into employment. Around 60 per cent of the homeless people taking part in Ready for Work across the UK and Ireland find sustainable employment.

The programme provides each client with a two-day motivational training course, followed by a two-week work placement at one of the many companies supporting the scheme.

These include PEA, KPMG, Royal Mail, Cadbury Trebor Bassett, George Wimpy, Wragge & Co, ADI, Welconstruct Group and Bradford & Bingley. It is backed up by six months of mentoring and support with a volunteer job coach at a participating company.

PEA provided funding for a website - www.readyforjobs.com - which supports the Ready for Work initiative. The ground-breaking website helps homeless people access job vacancies before they are advertised anywhere else. They can access the website on computers at hostels across the city.

PEA spearheaded the development of the website and donated #10,500 as part of its major commitment to the BAOH project.  In addition, employment coach Gerry Byrne has been seconded to the project by the company and is responsible for liaising with local employers to get them on board and help co-ordinate vacancies for the website.

Colin Birchall, Chief Executive of PEA, said: "It is a little-known fact that in Birmingham alone there are around 40 hostels providing shelter for more than 4,000 homeless people. Helping these people to rebuild their lives and find employment is a massive issue and one that we are fully committed to tackling head-on.

"Birmingham is leading the way in dealing with this key social issue, attempting to break down the myths surrounding homelessness. Pertemps Employment Alliance is proud to be playing an important role is this initiative.

“It is another example of our major commitment to helping many good causes through our extensive corporate social responsibility programme. We are used to helping some of the most disadvantaged people in our society and our active involvement in Ready for Work continues that tradition."