Social Enterprise PM Training

Aspire Housing

 In 1996, the Stoke-on-Trent City council approached PM training to see if they could provide support to help older and vulnerable tenants to manage their gardens in order to help maintain their tenancies. 

Project Description

Established in 1982, PM Training began as a private company providing training and work experience for young people. In 2008 it became part of the Aspire Housing Group as a social enterprise offering employment led training solutions to public and private sectors clients in Stoke-on-Trent. Its core objectives are to:

  • Prepare people for work
  • Provide apprenticeship opportunities and training
  • Support businesses with their workforce development
  • Provide direct home improvements and environmental services.

Stoke-on-Trent had been facing serious social, environmental problems in many of its neighbourhoods. The economic status of the city was weakened by the closure of a number of the city’s industries reducing employment opportunities for local people. In 1996, the Stoke-on-Trent City council approached PM training to see if they could provide support to help older and vulnerable tenants to manage their gardens in order to help maintain their tenancies. 

To meet the needs of the Council, PM Training worked with a group of young people and employees of the city housing service. As a result of this, numbers of disadvantaged young people were able to successfully improve and maintain gardens for the benefit of the tenants.

Young people gain an average of 26 weeks real work experience so they become work-ready for an apprenticeship. Moreover, the work of young people gained a lot of public attention which grew into a formalised Tidy Garden Scheme. This attracted the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Social Regeneration Budget (SRB) which further expanded the scheme to incorporate painting and decorating with a focus on social housing. Currently, PM Training has contracts which make up more than £2 million annually with local housing associations and with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to maintain 1,000 tenants’ gardens each year.

PM Training delivers a work experience scheme called Homeworks which targets disadvantaged and NEET (i.e. not in employment, education or training) young people in Staffordshire. Homeworks provide a range of home, garden, and estate based services which include: 

  • Gardening - lawn mowing, hedge cutting, weeding, tidying
  • Hard and soft landscaping
  • Painting and decorating
  • Environmental improvements - planting, fencing


Over the last 16 years, PM Training’s Homeworks service has carried out more than 500 environmental improvements, installed more than 30 pieces of public art and supported 11,000 young people's jobs, apprenticeships and NVQ training. In 2010, it comepleted £230,000 worth of transformations to community gardens, school playgrounds and public open spaces.

In 2009/10, 94 out of 164 people who completed the Homeworks scheme have been supported on to an apprenticeship programme organised by PM Training. This has been funded through The Aspire Group’s charity, the Realise Foundation, which is partly funded through the profits reinvested from PM Training. PM Training holds contracts through its Homeworks service of £2.48 million in 2011/12.

A social return on investment has shown that the Homeworks service creates £4 million per year for young people through increased earnings and increased future earning potential. The value to the wider community equates to £1.4 million. Overall, it is estimated that Homeworks provided a social return on investment of £2.43 for every £1.00 invested.


Homeworks have made significant impacts at different levels which include impact on young people, environment, community and economic impacts. The impact of Homeworks is captured in testimonials below.

Evelyn Pomfret, aged 74, who was helped by Homeworks since its inception in 1996

“I must have had hundreds of Homeworks trainees working on my garden. I was so relieved when PM Training offered to help as the grass was nearly as tall as my bungalow. It was like a jungle. They visit me every six weeks and cut the grass, trim the hedges, collect the leaves and have even put up brand new wood fencing for me. I wasn’t able to see anything out of my windows before. Now I can sit out in my garden with neighbours and enjoy the view. Without Homeworks people in my position would really struggle as we can’t do the jobs around the home that need doing. I’ve felt very lucky that they have been there to take that worry off me. Their visits help me feel part of the community.”

Evelyn Pomfret, Resident


“I wanted an opportunity to gain firsthand experience of the world of work. I realised that there might be another route into the workplace which didn’t rely on GCSEs or A-levels alone. Thanks to PM Training, I could start to earn while working towards qualifications. Homeworks has taught me skills I couldn’t have learnt at school”.

Kyle Welsh, a 17 year old who successfully completed a one year specialized training