Here at Taff we believe in building futures, not just homes. One of the ways we do this is by running a supported training and volunteer programme where we assist tenants and members of the community on their jobs journey. In order to offer Tenants and local residents best access to opportunities we work in partnership with a range of organisations like St Giles. Partnership working brings together separate organisations so we can all benefit from shared expertise and resources in a smart way.
St Giles Trust is a charity helping people facing severe disadvantage to find jobs, homes and the right support they need. Like Taff, they help people to become positive contributors to local communities and wider society. One of the ways in which they do this is through their Peer Advisor programme, where individuals complete qualifications whilst completing a placement with a host organisation. Hosts are mainly local charities and community based associations like Taff.
When I first heard about the 2017 programme I knew straight away that we wanted to be involved at Taff. Phoenix at St Giles explained that all Peer Advisors receive comprehensive ongoing support from an Employment Support Worker as well as from herself as a Trainer. Although there are other organisations that provide into work support like we do at Taff, St Giles has the resources to go above and beyond, guiding Advisors on their journey every step of the way. With this level of support Peer Advisors complete an Advice and Guidance Level 3 NVQ and a 12 module ‘Learning to Advise’ course whilst on placement. We often find that our volunteers either have all the life experience needed to excel as a support worker but no formal qualifications, or have qualifications such as a relevant degree but lack practical experience. This programme addresses this issue as Peer Advisors complete an industry level qualification whilst developing their work experience.
St Giles made sure that as a host organisation they made it as simple as possible for us. The whole sign up process was very straightforward, which was a big relief as we want to spend our time helping people at a grassroots level, not filling in mounds of paperwork! There were no lengthy forms and all our queries were answered quickly and clearly by one point of contact. The Peer Advisor we hosted here at Taff really enjoyed the programme. Her confidence soared as her placement and NVQ training progressed. She developed a range of transferable skills such as teamwork and prioritisation - important skills for any Advisor or Support Worker. The Peer Advisor quickly gained her team members’ respect as it was clear she had a genuine interest, asking questions to further her understanding.
As part of the NVQ qualification she was required to have various observations where her trainer wanted to observe her in her role. I will never forget the phone call I received when she had the result of her first assignment – it was the first time she had ever completed an assignment, she was ecstatic and on cloud 9, she felt the world was her oyster. She has since gone on to win a national award and is now a support worker in a local housing scheme.
We are delighted that the Big Lottery is funding another wave of St Giles Peer Advisors through their new ‘Peer Forward’ programme. We are looking forward to hosting 3 new Peer Advisors - William in our Forensic Team, Maha in our Support Team and Laura in our young women’s hostel Ty Seren. We hope that they too embrace every opportunity as a Peer Advisor through St Giles. We are looking forward to sharing their experiences in the near future. Watch this space...
New Peer Advisor Will hosted by Taff
If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved in Taff’s Building Futures Jobs and Training programme or if you are an organisation wanting to partner with Taff to help achieve more by working together, please contact Clare Dickinson on 02920259146 or email firstname.lastname@example.org