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Apprenticeships that help homeless people into work

The scheme which St Mungo’s established in 2008 has proved highly successful at helping people into long term work. Of the 58 people who have completed the year long scheme since 2008, 90 per cent have gone on to find jobs either with St Mungo’s or elsewhere.

One client apprentice, Winston, 33, said: “The Apprenticeship scheme saved my life. I spent a while living on the streets and then in a hostel following the breakdown of my marriage. My key worker saw something in me and really pushed me to get volunteering and start building up my skills. When my hard work had paid off and I got the apprenticeship a year later, I was elated. The job is really challenging but I enjoy every single day.”

Each year around 150 people apply for one of around 16 places on the scheme. It is open to anyone who has experienced homelessness. Successful candidates are mentored throughout their journey by their colleagues within the projects and also by a programme coordinator.

Emma Broomfield, St Mungo’s apprenticeship scheme coordinator, said: “Our apprentices work extremely hard to get on the scheme, and once on, they work hard and benefit from support as well. They receive on-the-job training supported by staff in the hostels before taking exams and achieving their NVQ social care qualifications.”

In 1983 86% of St Mungo’s clients were in employment. Today, this figure is just 4%. Two thirds have been out of work for five years or more, and around 15% have never worked at all. Over half of St Mungo’s clients lack the basic literacy skills required to get a job.

“Homeless people can and do get back into work.” says Rod Cullen, St Mungo’s group manager for skills and employment. “Last year St Mungo’s supported 2,000 homeless people in finding employment, training, further education and taking up a range of activities.”

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