Following the overwhelming success of two very important Social Bite programmes; Housing First and Jobs First, Kenny Walker, Andron Account Manager, was invited to the first-ever Social Bite Impact Programme Conference at Central Hall, Edinburgh, to discuss Andron’s involvement in Jobs First and how we can continue to work together to create inclusive workplaces where people who have experienced homelessness can succeed.
An initiative launched earlier this year by Social Bite, Jobs First, aims to help revolutionise the access of people who have experienced homelessness to job opportunities across the UK. Too often, they are overlooked and refused access to the labour market due to significant barriers and stigma surrounding their ability to secure and sustain employment. Through Jobs First, Social Bite is working directly with some of the UK’s biggest employers, including Andron FM, to help break down the barriers faced on their route to employment.
Integrating Jobs First with Inclusive Futures
Before Jobs First, Andron had already worked with Social Bite to offer job opportunities to people from a situation of homelessness through Andron’s employability programme, Inclusive Futures. Almost two years later, these individuals are still working within Andron and thriving, not only in the workplace but outside too. Strong communication, dependability, teamwork, adaptability, and technology literacy are just some of the transferable skills that continue to benefit the individuals in all aspects of life.
Our experience in this regard meant that when we joined Jobs First as a pilot employer, we had the support mechanisms to integrate Jobs First seamlessly with Inclusive Futures and quickly offer employment opportunities to Jobs First candidates, all while ensuring the transition to employment was supported and sustained. So far, we have already found five jobs for people with a background of homelessness through the programme in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London.
Joining Jobs First has also provided our local account management teams with additional training opportunities to help them effectively tailor their support to meet the individual’s specific circumstances. Additionally, each person, who is guaranteed a real Living Wage, is allocated a support worker from Social Bite to assist them throughout their employment contract, meeting weekly to offer practical support on bills and forms as well as emotional guidance and confidence building to adapt to working life.
As the line manager of our recent Jobs First employee, Kenny Walker, joined the group of panellists to discuss his role in Jobs First. Kenny provided insight into the importance of the relationship with the support worker and how the Jobs First Training has improved his teams’ awareness about homelessness and trauma to better support the recruits. Kenny also provided advice to other organisations who are contemplating participating in the Jobs First programme.
Reflecting on the conference, Kenny said:
“A big thank you to Social Bite for letting me be part of the panellists pioneering the Jobs First Programme Conference 2022. To talk about the process from the Andron side, acknowledging the success and learnings, and getting the chance to listen to others involved in the programme through the journey, was uplifting.
“Thanks must go to The Andron Team and our client in Edinburgh for letting us start the process at their site.”
We at Andron are thrilled to be part of this transformational programme tackling homelessness and unfair discrimination in the job market, which is making a real difference to people’s quality of life. As we look ahead to 2023, we will continue to work with Social Bite to open up more job opportunities to Jobs First employees across the UK.