In September 2017, The Wallich invited Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science, to our new and improved Learning Centre in Cardiff.
The Learning Centre is a hub for learning and development projects which aim to give people the skills and support they need to re-enter the work place.
During this visit the Minister met with service users and staff involved in our innovative projects. This included our WISE (Working in Sustainable Employment), RSVP (Residents and Service Users Volunteer Programme) and BOSS (Building Opportunities, Skills and Success) projects.
Working in Sustainable Employment (WISE)
The WISE scheme, developed in collaboration with our service users, provides training, industry-standard qualifications and on-the-job experience, as well as continued support through employment probationary periods.
Research demonstrates that some of the main barriers to employment for homeless or vulnerably housed people are a lack of previous work history or work experience, a lack of confidence and a lack of opportunities.
67% of The Wallich’s service users have had a job in the last two years. The majority want to work and just need the right tools and support to overcome these barriers.
Residents and Service Users Volunteer Programme (RSVP)
RSVP has supported 1,160 residents and service users who, in total, have completed almost 30,000 hours of volunteering across Wales.
Volunteering activities include gardening, maintenance, administration, being part of interview panels, bike riding, consultation groups, workshops and producing a service user-focused magazine.
The scheme looks to both identify skills that our service users already have, and develop new skills in other areas.
Building Opportunities, Skills and Success (BOSS)
BOSS provides innovative employability and entrepreneurship training to ex-offenders and prisoners serving sentences in South Wales.
The BOSS team also engages with employers to break the stigma of employing someone with a criminal record.
Julie James said: “Being employed can make a huge difference to a person’s life by helping them to feel valued and fulfilled, improve their independence and standard of living and widen their social network and we are committed to working with others to support more people into work.
“Sustaining a high rate of employment in Wales, reducing economic inactivity and increasing the number of people in good quality jobs are key priorities for this government. It was great to visit The Wallich Learning Centre and hear more about some of the skills and employability projects it runs and see the positive impacts these are having on people’s lives.”
Sian David, Head of Participation and Progression at The Wallich said: “It’s been a pleasure to talk to the Minister about the challenges faced by those who have experienced homelessness and want to get back into employment.
“At The Wallich, we focus on offering long-term solutions. We want to break the cycle of homelessness and offer a wide range of services, across Wales, which are designed to help people live happier, safer and more independent lives. The projects based at the Learning Centre epitomize this.
“We hope that the Minister saw today the value of providing genuine opportunities and getting people the right skills to move into the work place.”