Council officers try to wipe Wigan clean of graffiti, help residents compete at the Tatton Park Flower Show and give young people a chance to win coveted paid placements.
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From rubbish and recycling
to potholes and pavements.
Another street down. Another street to go.
Educating our children.
And caring for the elderly.
It does make a difference when you see what can be achieved.
We rely on our local councils to provide a huge range of services.
You may kiss the bride.
In this series, we follow front-line staff
working for Wigan Council in Greater Manchester.
Like council officers across the country, they are protecting us
-from hidden dangers...
..stepping in when there's an emergency...
You never know what you're turning up to.
-..and responding to residents...
-Thanks for everything.
-A good job done.
-..when they call the council.
the borough's young people chase their career dreams with some
help from the council.
If I am successful, then I'm going to grab it with both hands
and run with it.
From council estate to country estate -
the Wigan gardeners going for gold at the Tatton Park Flower Show.
If we were lucky enough to win a gold, massive.
It would be... You can't explain it.
And the writing's on the wall for vandals,
with the council workers cleaning up town, one tag at a time.
People, they want to see the pretty sights,
and they don't want to see buildings daubed in graffiti.
The scale and range of services provided by our local authorities
mean that, together, they're one of the biggest employers in the UK.
Over two million people in the UK work for a local council.
Job opportunities are especially important for young people,
who are nearly three times more likely to be out of work than
the rest of the population.
In the first half of 2015,
almost three quarters of a million young people were unemployed.
And it affects us all.
It's estimated that long-term youth unemployment costs the UK taxpayer
around £20 million a week.
To help youngsters move off benefits and into full-time work,
Wigan Council in Greater Manchester runs a very special scheme.
This is your future and Wigan Council want to support you
as much as possible.
Confident Futures offers six weeks of training
and work placements to around 30 young people each year.
Those successfully completing the trial
win 12 months of paid work experience with the council.
We support vulnerable young people throughout Wigan.
That can be children in care and care leavers,
young people who have being involved in crime
and work with the youth offending team,
homeless young people,
young people with emotional problems or mental health.
Programme coordinator Jan Watkin has seen Confident Futures help
nearly 75 vulnerable young people since the scheme started in 2013.
Each youngster is tried out in a range of roles to find one
that best suits their skills.
The matching process is really important.
If we don't get it right, it can impact on the young person.
23-year-old Jack is one of Jan's latest intake.
I always wanted to get up in the morning and go out and do something.
I've been brought up to look for a job and find one.
Like many youngsters on the Confident Futures scheme,
Jack had a shaky start in life.
I was ten when my dad passed away.
It was just hard because, obviously,
my mum had lost her husband. Me and our Danny had lost our dad.
You learn to grieve.
And, you know, you learn to deal with your problems in your own way.
A year of paid work experience at the end of the scheme
could help Jack get to where he wants to be.
But if he's going to swap pulling pints for a career with the council,
he'll have to prove he's serious.
You're doing a grand job with that.
A lot of young people, they just want a job.
They want to earn money.
But we stipulate that we want them to have a career where they'll
have to do some training
and gain a qualification or a trade.
Jack is in the sixth and final week of the Confident Futures
programme and is spending a day in fleet maintenance.
Wigan Council operates over 500 vehicles, as well as countless
mechanical tools, and they all have to be kept in safe working order.
It's a big opportunity for Jack to show what he can do.
I want to be a fully-qualified mechanic for the council
because I love taking things apart,
finding out the remedies, how to solve a problem.
And I think working for the council would be one of the best jobs
Jack already has a Level 3 Mechanics NVQ
but he still has to prove himself and start at the bottom,
on the lawnmowers.
It's just going all right. I'm enjoying it today.
Obviously, we've got to clean the lawnmowers with the steamers
so they're clean
and then we can take them into the workshop and fix them
and find out what's wrong with them and fix them.
Today, Jack is working with another Confident Futures trainee,
Aaron, an old mate from school.
Yeah, there's a bit of rivalry.
It's who can finish the job the best and fastest, really.
It's going to be me!
I think I'm quicker than Aaron, to be honest.
I've got that bit more experience than him
but, you know, within time, I think there'll be a nice
rivalry between each other to see who's the better mechanic.
It's all finished now.
Get it fit, take it into the workshop.
I was definitely quicker than you!
Lawnmowers clean, but the lads can't afford to relax.
There's a paid placement on offer in this department.
Fleet manager Keith Simpson wants to see how they do on something
a little more challenging.
Right, what we're going to do next, guys, is we're going to
get this transit connect on.
-It needs a service today.
OK, so, what I'd like you to do is get it on the ramp.
Take the wheels off either side.
You do one side, Aaron.
You do the other side.
Vehicles in this workshop are needed all over the borough,
and there's pressure to get them back out on the road
as soon as possible.
If you could check the front and rear brakes and just give me
a report on the condition of those?
And then we'll take it from there.
Poor workmanship here could mean breakdowns, or even accidents.
Jack and Aaron have got to get this job right.
Everything's fine there.
And Keith is watching their every move.
I like doing things like this.
It saves people's lives.
If you didn't have no brakes, people would be crashing all the time.
While working on the brakes,
Jack and Aaron spot a potentially serious problem and call Keith over.
Just the brakes.
I think that gate has split.
A leaking CV joint boot.
Very good spot.
Potential disaster averted.
Well, you can just see the way the lads are going about the job here,
with the enthusiasm that they've got.
There's a long way to go yet but if they show this kind of commitment
then hopefully they'll have a great future with Wigan Council.
The lads go through their final checks on the van.
That's your sidelights.
Then you've got your main beam.
Jack and Aaron's friendly rivalry is forgotten,
and they work together to get the job done.
It's like a big team, isn't it? Everyone mucks in together.
Always helping each other out, if you're stuck, or you got a problem.
Is your foot on the brake?
And speaking of problems, Jack's spotted another one.
This time with the van's rear light.
That's only a single filament bulb.
That one's a two filament bulb.
-Yeah. So, that might be causing the problem on that lamp.
Because it's only got the single filament.
-You've got another defitment to go on your sheet, haven't you?
It's been a successful shift for the lads.
Lads, you've done really, really well.
I can see the way you've gone about the inspection this morning,
that you both know what you're doing.
That's something we can certainly build on, so, well done.
Cheers, thanks very much.
Jack has impressed Keith today.
But in the morning he faces a final test that will decide his fate.
A formal interview with the Confident Futures board.
When I have my interview,
if I get the welcome aboard,
that's my future started really, isn't it?
Jack gets grilled by his potential employers...
Jack, tell me why we should take you on as one of the
Confident Futures apprentices?
..and two more Confident Futures trainees get to grips with work
at Wigan Council.
Hopefully I'll get a good feeling about CCTV.
Will any of these hopefuls achieve their dream?
I'm nervous now.
In the UK, it's estimated over four million people
are living in council-owned accommodation.
The Metropolitan Borough of Wigan has over 22,000 residential
Dave Bainbridge is group manager for the council house arm of
But his job's not all about bricks and mortar.
Dave knows what it takes to turn a council house into a home.
When tenants and residents look after an area and care for an area,
then other people moving into that area or visiting that area
are not only impressed with it but want to be part of that.
Sussex Close, in Hindley, is on Dave's patch.
This little corner of Wigan shows exactly what can be achieved
when the community come together to improve their environment.
Every single one of these flowers was planted by local volunteers,
led by Wilf Ford.
-Well, this area used to be... It was derelict, wasn't it?
There used to be a big tree here, conker tree.
That was poisoned.
Then there used to be another big tree over there, which was...
Looked like the Leaning Tower Of Pisa!
It was a mess.
So, we decided to do something about it.
Each one of us has our individual jobs.
Once it's set up, it's easier to maintain.
Sussex Close is a great example of where a few residents
have come together to genuinely make a vast improvement
to the area that they live.
And that's what I, and my team, try to do with the community.
Wilf's project grew from the green shoots of an idea,
into a blooming marvellous garden,
with the help of a grant from Wigan Council.
We got £1,000.
So, we had to buy, obviously, a couple... A few tonnes of soil.
It's all stemmed from there.
Everything in this communal garden is lovely now.
But Wilf has plans for his green-fingered team
and those plans are growing -
The annual Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show at Tatton Park.
A celebration of the very best of British gardening.
Nearly 500 exhibitors compete to create the most spectacular flower
displays and this year one of the entries will be from Sussex Close.
The Close entered the Blooming Bed category last year
and are hoping to improve on their award.
We won silver.
Which we were surprised because we've never done it before.
We're the only communal garden from social housing
from Wigan and Leigh Homes,
who's appeared there for two years on the trot.
This year, Wilf is going for gold.
Or at least silver-gilt.
And has come up with a theme that he hopes will wow the Tatton judges.
The Road To Wigan Pier.
These represent the canal
cos we've got canals in Wigan and Leigh.
Then we've got the red and white colours for Wigan and Leigh rugby.
So, those will represent players in the grass.
That's going to be coal because we're having a slag heap on it.
A pit head.
We've got the barge, which will be...
These will be planted in the barge, representing coal with Wigan Pier.
Wigan's proud sporting history and gritty industrial heritage
rendered in flowers.
It's a big ask for the team from Sussex Close
but they won't be on their own.
They'll have a little help from Dave from Wigan Council.
What sort of job's this? Supposed to be management, me!
You know, it's a bit of role reversal today.
Where I'm normally in charge of all these people,
today Wilf's in charge and I have to take orders.
So, that means I have to bite my tongue a little bit.
Sometimes to the point of it bleeding!
-I might trip going down the path.
That's what we're frightened of with you.
After 12 months of preparation,
Wilf and the team have over 3,000 plants
that will make up their Tatton entry.
And they've all got to be loaded into the back of Dave's van.
I need all the tools on the back.
Yeah, yeah, I know.
A lot we won't use.
They won't be good enough.
But what we do with those we don't use is bring them back
and give them away in the community.
So, everybody's got a bit of Tatton.
Like the Wigan - red and white.
Red and white begonias.
We're representing all the borough.
And a lot of people from the borough will be coming to have a look at it.
So, it's got to be right and it's got to be right for the judges.
# I'm leaning on a lamppost at the corner of the street... #
With the van full to bursting with flowers,
there's one final prop to squeeze on.
Another piece of Wigan industrial pride.
This has been worked on for a long time.
Oh, it's got the gauge on as well!
I didn't know that.
-Wilf, that's beautiful.
3,000 plants, a welded iron pithead,
plus the hopes and dreams of the dedicated Sussex Close team.
All are finally on their way to try and win gold
at the Tatton Park Flower Show.
I think this is going to be the highlight of everything we've done.
We hope so, anyway.
Still to come...
The Road To Wigan Pier gets rocking.
The pithead is too low.
Can Wilf turn 3,000 flowers into an award-winning display?
That's no good.
It's early morning at Wigan Council's super depot.
Brian Aspinall and Richard "Tricky" Walton are preparing
for their first mission of the day.
Let's see what today brings.
These men face a never-ending job,
battling a scourge that costs the council tens of thousands of pounds every year.
We've got some graffiti.
So we'll do the Tyldesley one first.
Then we'll sort these out later because that's the priority one.
Brian is a council graffiti remover,
otherwise known as a neighbourhood team operative.
After a number of calls to the council,
this morning Brian is revisiting a site that's become all too familiar.
Two scoundrels, lads, whatever,
went on a rampage with a tin of white spray.
And daubed 18 cars in the area.
A few streets of it around the area,
taggings, offensive graffiti.
And I've been busy for a week now trying to get rid of it.
The two lads who've done it don't realise how much money
it's costing for their, probably, one hour of madness.
And everybody's got to pay for it.
Paying for their idiocy.
On average, graffiti costs the UK taxpayer £1 billion a year.
And the most serious cases can carry custodial sentences
of up to ten years.
Get a shot from that, Trick, from the angle there, like that.
The culprits responsible for this graffiti have been traced.
Tricky takes photos of their handiwork as evidence.
There is no Banksys here.
You know, no way.
These vandals face restorative justice
and might have to clean up some of their own graffiti.
For now, though, it's Brian and Tricky
who have to sort out the mess.
Here is the magic stuff.
This is a gel, it is a graffiti removal gel.
It's friendly, pretty safe, but it does the job.
Like, these people who live here, they've done nothing wrong.
They have just woke up one morning
and the place has been daubed in graffiti. Not very nice.
Now, that is working now. That's earning, that's earning.
Having applied the chemical gel,
the team add elbow grease to remove the graffitied initials, or tags.
This is just one of the 60 calls made to the council
about clean-ups every week.
Brian is swimming against the tide of tags.
Get Big Bertha out.
Just release that there.
Even with Big Bertha, removing the graffiti has been a tough job.
Brian is keen the young offenders responsible
learn just how tough it is.
The two lads who have been caught doing anything,
I think I will leave this for them
and that bit they will find very hard
because they won't have the power wash, where I have.
Someone has got to show how much time it takes to get off.
Hopefully they will learn from that experience.
Getting convicted offenders to clean up and face up to the mess
they have made is a big part of breaking the cycle of vandalism.
But there is one offender who has been blighting
Brian's walls for longer than most.
Over the last 18 months I've been chasing this serial...
I'll call him a serial tagger.
His name has been appearing and I must have done about,
up to now, about 80 tags of him.
At the minute, he has cost a lot of money,
so I am going to get rid of some more of his work.
The sooner we nip this one in the bud, the better.
Wigan Council pass on information to police
to help catch graffiti offenders.
Brian wants to wipe Wigan clean of this one.
This guy here, he's really made our work a lot harder.
There's one here, he's here...
I'm just going to check round here.
There's another one here.
People are on their holidays now.
You've got a lot of barges coming down here.
They want to see pretty scenes, pretty sights.
They don't want to see buildings daubed in graffiti.
Even though I've got these here...
There is more.
It is, it's like cat and mouse.
Big cat Brian is determined to catch his paint-spraying prey.
In 2014, Wigan spent thousands on removing graffiti in the borough.
By the time that tag is gone there, the people driving past,
it should be a bit more pleasant for them.
The boys make quick progress and the wall is almost back to white.
-But there's a problem.
-I'm running out of paint.
HE IMITATES AN ALARM
I'm scraping the barrel, now, as we might say.
Brian ekes out the last drop of paint...
Might just have enough.
..and wipes out the problem on this wall.
The finishing line is approaching.
-Well done, we've done it.
That's that done.
This wall is all white, but there are plenty more
walls in Wigan and sadly plenty more people willing to deface them.
In spite of this, Brian and Tricky's tag team fight on.
With some financial help from the council, Wigan resident Wilf
has turned a scrubby bit of ground into the pride of a neighbourhood.
I got £1,000 and it's all stemmed from there.
And now his green-fingered team is going for gold
at the Tatton Park Flower Show.
It's got to be right and it's got to be right for the judges.
9am, Tatton Park. The day before the RHS Flower Show.
Helping Wilf and the team is Dave Bainbridge,
the man and his van from the council.
He has volunteered his own time
and delivered Wilf's precious cargo of 3,000 plants to the show.
I have had to drive even more tentatively than
I normally do and make sure that I don't run up any steep hills
so things roll about in the back of the van.
So we have been OK, everything has made it intact this year.
All in one piece apart from my nerves, which are shredded.
On inspection this morning, Wilf has spotted a problem.
The pithead, it's too low.
When I put the black plants around it you won't see the wheel,
so we are going to sink these into the ground
and then drop the pithead into it
so it will lift it up four or five inches.
Levelling the pithead is taking up valuable preparation time...
We are not saying this is going to be right.
..even with Dave around to provide an extra pair of hands.
Push them over.
Success - one vertical pithead.
But there is still the small matter of assembling 3,000 plants.
I think we're not too bad with that one but that one is coming off.
12 months' hard work is hanging on the next few hours.
Even with the pressure on,
Wilf isn't about to let his high standards slip.
That's no good.
It's not perfect enough. Snip them out.
We'll be doing quite a bit as we go along.
Wilf is the boss today, I'm just here volunteering and helping him
to assemble this wonderful garden with other tenants
from Wigan & Leigh Homes Estate in Hindley.
For Dave and Wigan Council, the seed that was planted with the grant
to the green-fingered residents of Sussex Close is blossoming.
But will it be enough to impress the Royal Horticultural Society judges?
It's very hard to get a gold, very hard.
They look for everything - neatness of the plants,
the quality of the plants - just everything about your garden.
A little bit nervous but, to me, I don't come for the result, really.
I come to enjoy building the garden, working with tenants.
If you hear me screaming, you know we have won a medal.
It doesn't matter what size of medal, it's an award.
Still to come, flower meets power,
and the expert judges make their decision
at the Tatton Park Flower Show.
Just can't wait to get the result now.
Councils across the country run many initiatives aimed at young people
but recent cuts are putting services under pressure,
leaving some youngsters distanced and dissatisfied.
I think we would appreciate the work of the councils
if we was made aware of what they do.
I know 17-year-old kids that would probably make better council workers
than most council workers,
that are probably more in touch with issues that need to be changed
or thought about, you know what I mean?
I think they have definitely lost touch.
They probably are trying change their image,
they probably are trying to get out there, talking to the communities
but, I don't know, I think it's just one of those things that is
so far gone now, I just don't think they are ever really going to
get the kind of support and appreciation that they really want.
One initiative to help young people that Wigan Council have set up
is the Confident Futures scheme.
It aims to help young people from troubled backgrounds find work.
This is your future
and Wigan Council want to support you as much as possible.
If they successfully complete six weeks of classroom studies
and hands-on work experience,
they will be offered a 12-month paid placement.
If I get there, yeah, welcome aboard -
that is my future started, really, isn't it?
It is 8am at Wigan Council's super depot.
Morning. You all right?
17-year-old Anthony, another Confident Futures trainee,
has a big day ahead of him.
If I was successful it would mean everything
because obviously I have to move into a flat soon
and I have to support myself, so it's basically my life, isn't it?
-It's what I'm going to have to live off.
So I just want to get on with it and show that I am committed.
Anthony lives in care but when he turns 18 this support
will end and he will have to move out.
A 12-month paid placement would give Anthony the solid start he needs
to live independently.
To earn it, he has to demonstrate practical skills
and pass a final interview.
Especially with the children in care and care leavers, a lot of reason
why they have been in the care system is not their fault.
You know, it's things due to the past.
Most of them want to progress in life
and make something of themselves.
Depot supervisor Cath takes Anthony out to meet
his team for the day, one of the highways crews
responsible for mending Wigan's roads.
-This is Anthony.
-Hello, mate. All right?
-Nice to meet you.
You are going to look after him, aren't you, today,
-like one of your own?
-Have a good day today, yeah?
Yeah. Oh, you'll go home tired tonight, lad.
In 2014, Wigan Council received over 4,000 calls
about the state of its roads.
In response, it pledged £20 million to improve the borough's highways.
Anthony is tarmacking today and wants to drive wagons tomorrow.
My dream job is to be an HGV driver.
So they'll put me through my Class B here,
that's what I have been told,
so fingers crossed that is what I'm going to do.
I'm just glad I'm at the council and I've had this opportunity, really.
Today, the highways team are on pothole duty.
Small holes in the road can rapidly develop into something
more dangerous and more difficult to repair,
so today's job is an exercise in pothole prevention.
This is the sharp end of Wigan Council's
highway maintenance programme and it suits Anthony down to the ground.
Obviously I want to progress and go further.
It's my kind of job.
He's always keen. I have only known him for two hours and he is happy,
so he'll pass easily today.
He's a nice lad.
Road crew gaffer Michael is impressed with Anthony's attitude.
And over at Wigan Town Hall,
another Confident Futures trainee is hoping to impress.
19-year-old Jess is in the final week of the scheme
and today she is gaining valuable work experience at the borough's
top-secret CCTV control centre.
I'm feeling excited.
It'll be a good opportunity to see what they do.
Hopefully I will get a good feeling about CCTV.
There are over 550 CCTV cameras in Wigan town centre alone.
The people in this room monitor all of them all the time.
There is a year of paid experience at stake
and Jess has to prove she will fit in.
Both sides will be keeping an eye on each other.
Welcome to the fourth emergency service.
Fire service, police service, ambulance service
and then us, central watch. We are the fourth one.
Control room operative Jeff isn't exaggerating.
This small room is the eyes and ears of Wigan.
Every call that you take is different.
So it could be missing person,
a young child has gone from school, gone missing.
Recently there was a major fire so we get that call come through here,
so we have got to put the emergency planning process in.
So there is a lot to learn.
Our local authorities operate over 30,000 CCTV cameras.
The units provide extra eyes for the emergency services
and also take calls directly from members of the public.
-This is Jane.
-Nice to meet you.
Jane talks Jess through life on the closed-circuit camera coalface.
What I am doing at the moment is I have been looking for a male
who has just made off from a shop in Norley Hall.
Watching over the residents of Wigan is a big responsibility
that can take an emotional toll.
We do a job. Sometimes you see things you don't want to see
but we can work together, support each other and deal with it.
Back on the highways,
Anthony is showing boss Michael what he can do with the heavy machinery.
He has done a very good job, yeah, for his first attempt.
The pothole is fixed, but Wigan Council is responsible for
nearly 700 miles of road, so there's plenty more where that came from.
Michael knows how valuable a willing worker like Anthony could be.
This is the first time I've had an apprentice. Very good scheme.
Keep people out of dole, keep them all working.
Anthony has impressed his boss on the job but, in 24 hours,
he is swapping shovel for suit and sitting down in front
of an interview panel who will decide his future.
Over at the town hall, Jess's day is also at an end.
-All the best, Jess.
-All right, thank you very much.
-Give us a ring, tell us how you get on.
-I will do, thank you.
I think it is brilliant. I could certainly see myself doing it.
It would be a job that I would be excited about
getting up in the morning.
And, yeah, I have got a really, really positive feeling about it.
Jess has had her eyes opened to a new opportunity
and now has her sights set on paid work experience in CCTV.
But first, like Anthony,
she has to convince the interview panel that she is right for the job.
I know the young people and I am on the interview panel.
A couple of others who are on the interview panel might not
really know them that well
so they have got to sell themselves and tell
the panel why they are more suitable than others for that position.
For many of the young candidates, the Confident Futures panel
will be their first-ever experience of a job interview.
Pass your exam and we will see you in the future. All right, mate?
-Good luck, pal. Hope it works out for you.
-Pleased to meet you.
-See you later, mate.
-See you later.
As well as discussing their work placements,
they will be expected to look the part.
I have never worn a suit to an interview,
that's why I'm a bit scared. It is a bit nerve-racking, really.
It is a big chance and they have only got one shot at it.
This opportunity has just come at me.
If I am successful in getting this job then I'm going to grab it
with both hands and run with it.
Coming up, it's time to face the final interview board.
Hi, I'm Jack, nice to meet you.
What does the future hold for our three ambitious candidates?
I can't stop shaking.
A grant from Wigan Council has helped a community blossom.
Inspired green-fingered residents are taking 3,000 plants to compete
at one of the most prestigious flower shows in the country.
If we was lucky enough to win a gold... Massive. It would be...
You can't explain it.
It's awards day at the Tatton Park Flower Show.
Over in the blooming bed section,
12 months' of hard work by the residents of Sussex Close
have created this, the Road To Wigan Pier,
complete with canal, lock,
rugby stadium and pithead.
Any gardener would be thrilled to have created a flowerbed
fit for Tatton. Well, almost any gardener.
I changed one or two plants
but they are still within what we had put on in the first place.
We must have had ten different plants I wasn't happy with
in and out, in and out.
But I think that looks the part now.
And it is not just the flowers that perfectionist Wilf
thinks needs attention -
even the solid iron pithead is wilting under the pressure.
It was even on Saturday,
it has levelled itself up for some reason this morning.
But it was the rugby posts what were tilted.
Wilf has high standards because he has faced
the judges of the Royal Horticultural Society before.
They are looking for bad petals, bad leaves,
the quality of the plants, the planting, what it represents.
News of Wilf's flowery hometown tribute has spread
and Wigan's finest turn out to lend their support.
You've done well.
This was one of the hardest things I have ever grown.
First in line is Wigan's Mayor, Councillor Susan Loudon.
I think it is absolutely wonderful what they've done.
I mean, they have done it in all their own time.
Wigan should be proud of what has gone on
and proud of these volunteers.
Wigan pride is in full bloom but, for Wilf, today is about one thing.
I just can't wait to get a result. That's...
Not for me, for everybody else.
Now Wilf and his team must make way for the judges.
It is strictly against the rules for entrants to be near the displays
as they make their inspections.
The judges from the Royal Horticultural Society
do their rounds.
There's nothing the Wiganers can do but wait.
-Just a bit of anticipation of...
A bit apprehensive, yes.
The judges can award gold, silver-gilt, silver or bronze
and they are not going to be rushed.
3,000 flowers, 12 months' work.
The judges have made their decision.
-This is Wilf's moment.
That is fabulous.
Silver-gilt is the second highest award
Wilf and the team's garden could have won -
official recognition of their green-fingered skills
I can't believe it. I'm shaking, you know what I mean?
It is dramatic.
Oh, my heart's pounding.
Oh, I'm very, very, very pleased.
Last year we got silver. This year, silver-gilt.
Next year we are going for gold.
I might as well say it, we are going to come back next year.
For Wilf and his dedicated team,
the road from Sussex Close to Tatton Park has been long
and the first step was a call to the council.
There can't be many people who work in social housing who can say,
"I've won a silver-gilt medal at a Royal Horticultural show,"
and that for me is wonderful.
-What do you think, Tracy?
Family group hug.
Over the past six weeks,
14 youngsters have been gaining work experience and training
at Wigan Council as part of the Confident Futures scheme.
This opportunity has just come at me.
But with the trial period coming to an end,
the candidates have one last chance to win a paid 12-month
work experience placement with the council.
A bit scared. It's a bit nerve-racking, really.
It is D-day for the Confident Futures candidates.
Six weeks of placements and mentoring
has been leading up to this moment.
You have met Steve before.
They are each just one interview away from a placement
that could change their lives.
But not all of the candidates on the Confident Futures programme
are guaranteed to pass this last test.
And for Jack, Anthony and Jess, the tension is building.
All the answers you were giving me, the questions we were going over,
that's all it is. That's all it is.
-I'll be all right.
I can't stop shaking.
And it's not only the candidates who are feeling the pressure.
It is a big thing for me today
because these young people are my young people
who have been on my caseload
and the most I want is for them all to succeed.
Today is certainly a massive opportunity for care leaver Anthony.
A paid placement in the highways department will help him
-I'm nervous now. I'm sweating.
I have about 10, 15 minutes now before I go in.
Deep breaths, innit?
For Jack, hoping for a future in fleet maintenance,
this is his first-ever formal interview.
Jess wants to move into a fresh faze in her life
and has her heart set on a placement in CCTV.
Today the nerves are kicking in.
I just want it so much.
It is my live, basically, isn't it? That's what I'm thinking of.
-We've got Jack. You have met Steve.
-Hi, I'm Jack.
-Nice to meet you.
The candidates' mentor Jan leads the interview panel
of council officers and managers.
The next few minutes will decide the youngsters' futures.
So, why do you want to work with us at Wigan?
I love what I do, I love finding out how things work and, you know,
how to solve problems.
I'm very confident, I can talk to people,
I can get stuck in as part of the team and I'm always on time.
If not, I'm early, which hopefully I've proved.
Why should we take you on as one of the Confident Futures apprentices?
I think it will open a lot of doors for myself.
I have come a long way from where I was a few years ago.
It is a exciting opportunity. I really enjoyed CCTV.
-You are passionate about that, aren't you?
I got such a good feeling about it. It is unreal.
My past, it's not very bright and I just don't look at the past anyway.
I have been on highways for three weeks.
It's something I want to do.
You just get on with it, do you know what I mean?
You are on machines as well.
-The interviews are over.
-Thank you very much.
The candidates have done all they can.
Now it's up to Jan and the interview panel to decide their fate.
He was absolutely one of the politest,
well-mannered young gentlemen I have ever come across.
He was so confident in how he portrayed himself
and those questions.
Very, very intelligent young lady.
Knows what she wants, got a good, strong head on her shoulders.
-Do you want to come through?
Jack, Anthony and Jess all overcame their earlier interview nerves.
But have they done enough?
I've had tremendous feedback from highways about you, which I'm really
pleased about, so I am delighted to offer you the 12 months.
-Yeah, that's brilliant, that.
We are pleased to offer you the opportunity.
-You have done well, Jess.
-Thank you so much.
-It means absolutely everything.
-Go and celebrate.
It's all over now.
Eh? I know.
I know, I never cry with my young people.
Success for Jess and Anthony. But what of Jack?
We are prepared to start you on the 12 months. All right?
-Thanks very much, yeah.
-Oh, brilliant, Jack.
You've earnt it, you've earnt it on tremendous feedback from Keith.
-Thank you very much.
-I am made up for you.
For Jack, Anthony, Jess and the other successful candidates,
the future looks bright.
-You've gone and done it!
-Got a job.
I feel so overwhelmed.
I feel belting. I feel like a weight has been lifted.
I feel really good.
Now Jan can reflect on a job well done.
I have seen a lot of these young people, you know,
when they were at rock bottom
and needed that support to lift them back up.
So to see them gain a 12-month apprenticeship is just
overwhelming because now they have got the future ahead of them.
Council officers try to wipe Wigan clean of graffiti, help residents compete at the Tatton Park Flower Show and give hopeful young people a chance to win coveted paid placements with key council services.