International Youth Day 2021

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Posted 12 August 2021

To mark International Youth Day, we’re excited to tell you about two initiatives we are proud to be part of, which enable young people to get back into the workplace and develop their skills.

Karen Parkinson, Care Administrator at Gildacre Fields spotted the government’s Kickstart initiative and contacted Executive Director of Extra Care, Kris Peach, to put the suggestion forward.  Karen said: “Within our independent living Extra Care schemes, residents would frequently ask at residents’ group meetings ‘can we have a floating Care Worker please?’ – an employee who could spend time with both residents who don’t pay for care and residents who do receive care. The impact of COVID-19 has affected many of the older generation due to social isolation.  Residents who received care would be able to chat to the Care Workers during their calls, however some residents did not receive many visitors during the pandemic.  All the usual group social events and activities organised by residents with the support from employees had to pause to comply with government guidelines.

“After seeing the promotion material for the Government’s Kickstart scheme, and the rise in youth unemployment, Kickstart seemed to offer an ideal solution.  Kickstart pays for a young person’s salary for 25 hours at national minimum wage. This would enable the Extra Care schemes to employ a young person who could spend time with a resident who doesn’t normally receive a care call, and spend time planning and organising one to one activities, or group social activities or events”.

As a result, Housing 21 has secured funding to create 34 Wellbeing Support Worker roles which will enable young people aged 16-24 to come and work for us on a temporary basis.  They will be based at 34 of our Extra Care schemes across the country and responsibilities will include carrying out wellbeing activities with residents, assisting with preparing meals and drinks, and helping with seasonal events and social activities.  The six month placement will give young people employability skills and experience of working in the Social Care sector. Karen is leading on the project and so far we’ve had fantastic interest in the positions.  We look forward to supporting our new employees on these placements in the coming weeks! 

Another initiative we are supporting is Traineeships. This isn’t entirely new to Housing 21 as we have offered traineeship placements in the past, however on this occasion we have supported two placements within our HR team.  Traineeships offer a placement opportunity to gain experience whilst working towards a qualification with a training provider.  The placement is unpaid and can last anywhere from 3-10 weeks.  Our HR trainees provided support to HR manager, Lisa Holroyd’s team. Lisa said: “We have been really impressed with our trainees, who have been hard working, professional and very eager to learn. They have supported us with some of our administration tasks and attended our team meetings. It’s great to have been part of helping the trainees to broaden their skills and help them to reach their career ambitions”.

This positive feedback was also reciprocated by one of the trainees who has spent the last 10 weeks with us: “I would like to say that it was a pleasure for me to work with the HR Team. I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to carry out my traineeship at your organisation and for making me feel so welcome! Thank you for your kindness and for everything that you have taught me.”

We are proud to be able to support young people to gain valuable work experience at Housing 21 and there are many more opportunities for us to do so with the different initiatives running currently.

If you are interested to learn more about the Kickstart programme or traineeships, please contact Jenny Docherty, Learning & Development Partner – Funding.

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