Top London social enterprise to deliver government Work Programme

We have made a second loan to a training provider, this time to assist its delivery of a major government contract to help people from ethnic minorities find work.

The Twist Partnership (Twist) is a social enterprise that delivers learning and training programmes to individuals, groups and organisations. Twist’s aim is to empower its participants by promoting leadership through learning, thereby improving their personal and professional development.

Established in 2004, Twist provides custom-made workshops, development programmes and consultancy services to a wide range of clients. Most recently they have worked with schools, ethnic minorities, refugees and young people at risk, as well as businesses, government and housing organisations.

Twist’s mission is to break down barriers. The enterprise has formed a consortium of 10 community partners, called the London Outreach Alliance, which supports ethnic minorities at a community level. The consortium can provide for eight languages throughout their offices, and offer support from those partners who share their community’s beliefs and background. The partners also work in religious and community centres. The main area of work has been in helping people from these ethnic minority groups find work.

We have released our second loan to Twist, this time to provide help to deliver the government’s new Work Programme. Twist has gained a first tier contract with a major government service provider serving East London, called Seetec (the main contractor), which provides welfare to work and skills training programmes. Few community organisations have been selected to deliver such a large contract, a value of £1m, and as such the consortium is responsible to provide employment support to over 2,000 people over the next five years.

The loan will assist Twist in maintaining the task of transforming from a service delivery organisation to delivering to a government contract. One of the first uses of our aid was to employ more full time staff, transform the IT systems, and work towards government quality standards, which must match up to the likes of large companies.

The director of Twist, Shankara Angadi, praised us by saying: “The loan has been absolutely instrumental in managing the bid. Without it we would not have been able to run the programme. Now we can help people in the community find work, pay salaries, and develop the community groups as well – since our consortium partners will have to meet the same high government standards. We will be more successful at finding work; in one month we’ve interviewed 100 people and so far found jobs for many of them.

“Many of the people we support don’t speak English, and don’t have prepared CVs. Our partners can communicate with them in Albanian or Somali, we can directly involve these people because we know them well through their grass-roots organisations. This new contract could be the start of something big, it could be a pioneering new way of working with the third sector.”

Twist is an award-winning enterprise and its programmes have been very effective. In March this year it won the Attorney General’s Award for Excellence due to its valuable work with young people. Twist also designed a Corporate Responsibility project for a law firm that resulted in solicitors mentoring youth who were at risk of offending or dropping out of school. Twist has delivered programmes with the London Development Agency that involved working with many refugees and attracted over £400,000 in funds.

We gave our first loan to Twist in 2007 to help with developing its programmes.