Raven Housing Trust, based in Redhill, led a consortium of partners, including Employment Support and Retraining Agency and YMCA East Surrey, throughout the transformative project which spanned over six years.
Funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund, the partners collaborated with participants who were furthest from the job market, with candidates being unemployed for two-and-a-half years, on average, before joining the scheme.
Providing a person-centred approach, tailored support plans were created to help individuals achieve their goals using a mix of one-to-one and group coaching sessions, along with funding for equipment, training, educational courses, and even childcare costs.
The project assisted a wide range of people, including those suffering from mental and physical health conditions, individuals with criminal convictions, people in need of support with gaining updated qualifications and skills, families struggling to access child-care, and homeless participants.
In total, 196 people signed up the project, 47% of whom were unemployed, and 53% who were not actively searching for employment for a number of reasons.
Over the lifetime of the initiative, 54 people secured employment, 32 took part in education or training, and 22 participants began actively job-seeking.
The project had far-reaching positive results, with 82% of surveyed participants saying they felt more confident thanks to Pathways to Employment, while 62% felt more confident in accessing the support they needed to gain work, and 75% reporting an improvement in their social skills. A further 66% of people said they felt less lonely, 62% felt better connected to their local community, and 69% said the programme had made a positive impact on their quality of life.
Following the success of the project, Raven Housing Trust has launched a range of employment support programmes including its Working Homes initiative which is match funded through the Department of Work & Pension’s European Social Fund.
It aims to help customers secure employment, access quality volunteering and work experience opportunities, develop their skills and confidence, and improve their CVs and interview technique.
Julie Jacobs-Obodai, Raven Housing Trust’s Employability & Skills Manager, said: “We believe that social housing providers are perfectly placed to support their customers, many of whom are on low incomes or have barriers to gaining employment, to not only find work but to secure rewarding roles that allow them to develop their skills and experience, positively impacting their living situations.
“The Pathways to Employment programme, combined with Raven Housing Trust’s other support schemes, has been hugely beneficial to our customers and we are extremely proud of the contribution the programme has made in helping people to transform their lives. There is no shadow of a doubt that we can play a key role in helping people to work towards a brighter future and we will continue to build on the foundations we have laid as we move forward.”