A crimestopping network in Leeds city centre is giving long-term unemployed people the chance to keep the streets safe and get themselves back into work.
Business Against Crime in Leeds (BACIL) has joined forces with training provider Aim2Learn to train people up as street marshals.
The scheme is aimed at people who have been unemployed for more than two years.
They work alongside BACIL patrolling the streets, reporting incidents of crime such as anti-social behaviour and begging and collecting evidence for use in ASBOs and banning orders.
Around 35 local people have already signed up and are working towards qualifications to further their careers.
Peter Yates, from Armley, is one of them. He said: “It’s an interesting and varied role and I am working with a committed team of people who are helping to make the streets of Leeds safer for everyone.”
“I hope that this is a stepping stone for me towards future long-term employment within the security industry.”
Candidates take a free training course – which usually costs £500 – towards a Security Industry Authority certification to help them get employment within the security industry.
Sean Walker, BACIL manager, said: “It is a win-win scenario.
“Candidates join us for a 30-week period, during which time they receive valuable on-the-job work experience, a nationally recognised qualification and a structure to their days, whilst doing meaningful work for the benefit of the city.
“They are keen to benefit from the experience and get back into work on a permanent basis.”
Stuart Littlewood, managing director of Aim2Learn, said: “People who are claiming benefits are being taken on to do work which will benefit the community.
“Already 15 per cent of these people have found paid employment as a result. I am very optimistic that this figure will continue to rise as the programme is rolled out further.”
Suitable candidates are selected through Aim 2 Learn and the Department of Work and Pensions.
Funding for the scheme, which runs for the next 18 months, has been provided by the European Social Fund.