Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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New support to give homeless people ‘basic building blocks’ for work

Pilot scheme to give the most vulnerable homeless people the right skills and training to get into work. 

A new pilot scheme will give the most vulnerable homeless people the right skills and training to get into work, Housing Minister Kris Hopkins and Skills Minister Matthew Hancock announced today (16 April 2014).

The ministers said the government is determined to test different ways of delivering support to the most disadvantaged people who want to work, but lack the basic maths, English and other skills that are vital when applying for jobs.

The London STRIVE (Skills, Training, Innovation and Employment) pre-employment programme will initially help 100 single homeless people over 2 years. The scheme will address key barriers to employment, providing 50 people a year with the right skills and opportunities to have an independent future without the need to rely upon local services and benefits.

Over the course of a programme designed with their particular needs in mind, participants will build up their basic skills in IT, maths and English and get their confidence to a level that will open the doors to further training helping them move out of homelessness into work.

STRIVE, run by homelessness charities Crisis and St Mungo’s Broadway, will work alongside Jobcentre Plus to identify those who would benefit most from the scheme.

Daniel Howard-Trickett, one of the first people to join the new initiative at Crisis, said:

I have been out of work since the end of last summer, having previously worked as a kitchen porter. Since then I have been looking for something that could help me to progress in life.

Learning computer skills and embedding it with English and maths will hopefully enable me to do that and to get a job and succeed in life.

Housing Minister Kris Hopkins said:

This government is determined to help vulnerable people tear down the barriers that prevent them from finding a job.

Many homeless people simply want to work hard and get on in life, but finding work is a real struggle if you don’t have basic skills in maths, English and IT.

That’s why we are supporting the STRIVE programme, which will help ensure the most disadvantaged people have opportunities to build up their skills and gain confidence, so they can move forward with their lives and start to live independently.

Skills and Enterprise Minister, Matthew Hancock said;

I can think of few better uses of education funding than to support English, maths, and IT skills for homeless people. It is wrong that until now excellent education projects led by St Mungo’s Broadway and others have been denied government funding - today we are putting that right. There is no doubt that charities like St Mungo’s Broadway and Crisis are best placed to reach those in need of help, but we are backing them in this vital task.

Leslie Morphy, Crisis Chief Executive said:

The crushing experience of homelessness leaves individuals feeling very vulnerable. At Crisis we offer dedicated and specialist support to help people turn their lives around, build new skills and confidence and ultimately find work. This new pre-employment programme will help us reach more people, getting them back on their feet and leaving homelessness behind.

But while our services have long been successful they have always struggled to get mainstream funding. It is vital that as well as helping individuals we use this programme to capture what works and ensure the lessons are fed into employment programmes and funding to ensure all homeless people across the country get the help they need.

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s Broadway, said:

STRIVE will be a vital stepping stone for people in need of tailored specialist support around literacy, maths and IT as they search for work. The people we see at St Mungo’s Broadway do need this additional support and we are delighted their particular needs have been recognised. It is about giving people a chance to succeed and rebuild their lives, rather than being knocked back from the start.

Further information

  1. STRIVE is funded jointly by DCLG and BIS. A total of £297,330 will be invested over the 2-year pilot. DWP are working with Crisis and St Mungo’s to establish referrals onto the scheme.
  2. The charities will work alongside Jobcentre Plus to identify suitable individuals to join the programme, and continuously measure progress towards employability. The scheme will be supported by all four Job Centre Plus London districts.
  3. A skills and employment training schedule has been developed with capacity to work with up to 50 homeless clients per year.
  4. Crisis and St. Mungos’s Broadway are both being funded to work with clients to develop basic skills in English, maths and IT, as well as developing essential employability skills according to each individual’s needs and aspirations.

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