WISE clients graduate from scheme

The Wallich is celebrating the first year of its employment scheme, WISE, as part of Adult Learner’s Week, June 25 – July 1. An annual campaign which celebrates and promotes adult learning opportunities.

The WISE scheme (Working in Sustainable Employment) supports the homeless and vulnerable people we work with to move in to employment, either with The Wallich or our corporate partners across South Wales.

The scheme was launched in June 2015 and so far, has supported over 25 people. Our current WISE clients graduated on Thursday, June 23.

WISE has been developed in collaboration with our service users and provides training, industry-standard qualifications and real ‘on the job’ experience.  For those moving into employment, the WISE scheme provides continued support through the probationary period to ease the transition into work.

Michael Davies, 55, from Bridgend is a WISE participant who undertakes a work placement with the Swansea Shoreline project, which offers accommodation and support to residents with alcohol misuse issues.

Michael’s own experience of being alcohol dependant and homeless has been beneficial in his role as a peer mentor.  He visits the project once a week and provides peer support to residents at the project, along with gardening and maintenance work, and is supported by project staff.

Michael hopes the experience he has gained with the project will lead to employment as a Support Worker.

Michael said: “I would certainly recommend a work placement opportunity to future WISE clients, it was a fantastic experience and learning curve.

The face-to-face contact with residents is an immense experience to add to my CV. It’s something you can’t get from any text book. I’ve gained communication, listening and learning skills – and volunteering has increased my confidence so much”.

Jessica Symons, Client Volunteer Development Worker with The Wallich said:

“The WISE scheme is a great way of tackling the employment barriers homeless and vulnerable people face such as a lack of previous work history and work experience.

The opportunities we provide such as training sessions, mentoring, practical support and references is a great way to tackle issues around adult learning.

We recognise the importance of work experience for our residents and service users to gain independence, skills and confidence whatever their background may be.”

The Wallich has made a commitment to employ people internally who have experienced homelessness. Currently, 17% of our staff have either been supported by us or have experienced homelessness and the related issues.