At Riverside we are more than just a landlord. I work as an Employment & Training Project Officer, offering this service enables us to empower our customers, delivering the support they need to make positive changes in their lives which leads on to improve aspirations within neighbourhoods.
We receive the majority of our referrals internally from Housing Officers, Income Collection and from the other services within our own Income Maximisation Team e.g. Money Advice, Affordable Warmth.
The relationship we build with our customers begins at an initial registration appointment which often takes place within their homes or alternatively can be arranged at one of our established community venues. During this appointment we are able to gather information, identify barriers and create an action plan based on each person’s individual needs. Often this leads to referring to local training providers which is a key part of the journey back into employment. Seeking volunteering opportunities can also be an excellent way to take steps to improve motivation and confidence. A huge part of the job is to sit with customers and support them to create a CV, carry out online job searches and complete application forms. We go the whole journey with our customers and when we get the excited phone calls with news they have finally secured a job it’s as fulfilling for us as it is for them!
We have access to Helping Hands funding to help customers to pay for the immediate costs associated with gaining employment, such as travel, clothes for interviews, personal protective equipment (PPE), identification and DBS checks. This eliminates the barrier that these costs cause and creates a smoother transition into employment, helping to prevent getting behind with rent, bills, etc.
Alongside this support we offer budgeting advice to all customers who are successful at moving into employment. Moving from benefits to having a wage can sometimes be quite a challenge and an unsettling time so we support customers to deal with this change.
The knock on effect within neighbourhoods is that as a service we now receive referrals via word of mouth. Our customers are now telling their neighbours and families about the Employment & Training support that Riverside offer and we are getting customers who contact us to ask for help. The most wonderful part of the job for me is that neighbours are seeing each other improving their lives and feeling inspired to do the same, the chain reaction that this creates is powerful.
Andrew Hill – Project Officer, Employment & Training