The Foundations Through Back to Work programme, run by Jersey’s Customer and Local Services, supports people who have been out of work or claiming Income Support for at least six months.
It offers them paid work or projects with the long term aim of getting them back into paid employment. Some of the people it supports, referred by the Jersey Employment Trust, have more complex needs.
The programme provides people with experience of work and improves their general employability in areas such as attendance, positive attitude, teamwork, and motivation to work. It also provides opportunities, support and close supervision to help people overcome significant barriers to work. It is not a full-time placement, but those on the scheme get paid the minimum wage for working between 12 and 32 hours per week.
One of the projects undertaken was in partnership with the Silkworth Charity, which offers residential rehabilitation for men and women who are affected by drug and alcohol addiction. The programme provided a team to redecorate two of its homes and their shop in St Helier under the supervision of Paul Mash and Cyril Vibert.
Cyril said: “We aim to teach the basic skills and provide a good standard of work for the charities who give us projects. People who have been out of work for some time often have social or confidence issues and that is the first hurdle we have to overcome.
“But they take pride from the projects we undertake. From the starting point where these people are unemployable to firms wanting to offer them a job, when I hear that one of the guys has been offered a full-time post it is just so fulfilling.”
Jason Wyse, Chief Executive Officer of the Silkworth Charity Group, commented: “We have recently benefited from the labour support provided through the Foundations Programme under the stewardship of Paul and Cyril.
“I would like to express my gratitude not only for the availability of the Foundations Programme, but importantly, to the individuals that have been part of the scheme. The work that was completed for us at both our West Park and Don Street properties was carried out to a first-class standard that would have cost the charity thousands if employing professional painters and decorators.”
Steve McSherry is on the scheme. He said “It is good to be out doing things, a reason to get up in the mornings. It has helped me get out and about. I do enjoy this, and the team look after me and I’ve learnt a bit as well.”
Claire Eva-Leitch, Team Manager at Customer and Local Services said: “It is an amazing scheme. When you meet the clients on the first day and share their journey and see the transformation at the end of the Foundations programme.”
Deputy Elaine Millar, Minister for Social Security said: “The Foundations programme meets a number of important criteria for the Island. As well as supporting people to improve their mental well being and confidence, they can learn new skills. The programme also supports the charity sector, and helps people back into work, which contributes towards meeting the skills gap on the Island.
“I thoroughly support the programme and am immensely proud of the people who manage and organise it, and, of course, those Islanders who benefit from being on it.”
So far this year until the end of July, 42 individuals have taken up placements on the Foundations scheme while six Islanders have gone on to full-time employment.
The main picture shows (left to right) Trevor Renouf (Back to Work advisor), Bryan Rainbow (BTW advisor), Steve Batty (Foundations supervisor) and Stephen Morrison (BTW advisor). Trevor, Bryan and Stephen assist with supervising the Environment Light scheme. The picture is taken at Grantez on a bench constructed with the assistance of the Foundations Environment team.