David Cameron’s back to work initiative, raises the memory of the Leeds council community programme of the eighties.

While managing the building workforce between July 1986 and December 1987, I experienced many positive aspects of the system. Some 280 unemployed men and boys, guided by a handful of experienced site managers and tradesmen, built playgrounds, car parks, community centres, church halls and sports centres, and gained valuable experience and training.

Plastering, wall and floor tiling and internal face brickwork were tackled, so the men employed skills they would have normally learned on a regular building site. This provided real-time experience and a useful service to the community.

Most of the young men went on to permanent jobs, and some were inspired to take up City & Guilds courses at night school.

David Taylor, Management Construction