Employment and training
Riverside is fully committed to finding innovative ways of supporting our customers via a programme of training opportunities from volunteering and peer mentoring, through to apprenticeships and employment opportunities within our own organisation. For most people building self-confidence and helping them to access training, volunteering and employment opportunities is a gateway to a new life.
Wide-ranging, our volunteering programme is led by locally-based volunteer coordinators and team leaders who assess local needs and volunteering opportunities. Our customers volunteer in the community as part of integration and gaining skills. We also welcome people who are not in our services to volunteer within our services to provide support and training opportunities for our customers.
We believe that our customers are ‘experts by experience’. Who better to understand the issues people face than those who’ve been through it themselves? This had led us to develop our ground-breaking ‘Buddies’ programmes. Starting with Street Buddies, an outreach service for entrenched rough sleepers, we’ve gone on to develop Gate Buddies .where ex-offenders support those newly released from prison. Peer mentoring, puts what is sometimes, somebody’s most negative experience of life to positive use. We’ve found that the peer mentor builds self-esteem and self-worth, then goes on to either our other programmes of training or employment, thus continuing their positive contribution to society.
Riverside has developed a GROW programme (Giving Real Opportunities for Work) which gives people who have experienced homelessness or have other lived experience, the opportunity to undertake a paid traineeship within our teams. There is the added benefit for some of an apprenticeship qualification. We specifically recruit people with previous experience of addiction, mental health, rough sleeping or other homelessness, or offending.
Many have gone on to full time employment within Riverside or with other agencies. GROW, for many people who may have started their journey into employment as volunteers or buddies, gives the chance to experience the paid work environment. Our GROW roles include positions as project assistants or administrators. Each person in a GROW role has access to the full range of Riverside training and E-learning resources and locally relevant training opportunities – with option to apply for any other employment opportunities in Riverside.