Riverside helps young people gain qualifications to enhance job options

Young parents at risk of homelessness in Suffolk are celebrating achieving qualifications which are equivalent to GCSEs in Maths and English, enhancing their life skills and employability options for the future.

Online training for residents at Acorn house in West Suffolk during the Covid-19 crisis.

Two customers at Riverside’s Acorn House in Bury St Edmunds, which offers supported housing for parents aged 16 to 25 and their families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, were presented with their certificates from West Suffolk College via a Zoom Awards ceremony.

Five more customers are continuing to study via email during lockdown for their Level 1 and Level 2 qualifications in Maths and English, improving their CVs and employment opportunities.

Many of the students have faced barriers from having no qualifications and having struggled previously in school environments. Assisted by West Suffolk College’s lecturer, Lexy Reynolds, the students have been encouraged to work at their own pace in a classroom at Acorn House.

One resident has the ambition to be an Accountant and was fast-tracked on the annual courses; achieving Maths and English qualifications which will assist him to gain a place to study Accountancy at College.

Online training for residents at Acorn house in West Suffolk during the Covid-19 crisis.

Another customer has completed her course and has now secured a job in a Care Home:

“Doing my Maths and English has helped me in so many ways, as I struggled to help myself. Going to these classes has helped me to gain so much confidence within my social life. Thanks to College and sitting my classes, I have now got a job and settled in lovely.”

Leah McGinn, Support Worker – Riverside, added: “We are extremely proud how past and present customers are continuing to achieve their goals. We’ve been blown away by the student’s commitment and enthusiasm for the course, as well as showing extraordinary levels of resilience to overcome both prior and existing barriers to learning.

“The students are reaping the rewards of their work; it’s marvellous. I smile from ear-to-ear all the time about it. Some of our customers have lacked motivation, but this has given it to them.”

Acorn House aims to give customers the skills, confidence and tools young people need to help them and their families to successfully move on, manage their own home and live independently in the community.

Riverside is one of the largest provider of homelessness services in the country, and its Care and Support operation works with over 16,000 customers every year.