Last year BHT secured funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation to launch its Intern Programme. The Intern Programme will boost the chances of those people embarking on a work career after, in many cases, years on the margins of society.
It is our aim that at any one time 40 Interns will be working across the organisation (on six-month placements for a minimum of two days a week) gaining valuable workplace experience and undertaking a tailored training programme.
Our vision is for the BHT Intern Programme to be recognised as an ‘Academy of Excellence’, where a reference from the Programme is regarded as a significant endorsement by future employers in the locality. We want to overcome prejudice of potential employers, so that the training and expertise gained through the Programme combined with the life-experience of our Interns will provide a blend of experience and expertise that cannot be bought.
BHT as an organisation will benefit from furthering our Mission to “create opportunities and promote change”. We will gain from the experience of clients, embedding their experience within staff teams. BHT, and other local employers, will also benefit from workforce planning, where we are training up the next generation of staff including in the care and support sector.
Our existing staff will benefit from engaging with former clients as peers, challenging prejudice and testing individual commitments that change is possible. Staff will also benefit from the opportunities for career development. They will receive training and practical experience in the mentoring and supervision of Interns, together with a small salary enhancement for the added responsibility of supervising an Intern.
The target group for the Programme will predominately be men and women who have been clients of BHT’s projects (or other local projects working with our client groups), who face multiple barriers to employment, including poor educational attainment, lack of confidence, self esteem, lack of workplace experience and workplace discipline and facing strong competition from people recently unemployed.
We will expect those applying to become Interns to have addressed any issues that might have led to homelessness or unemployment. For example, if someone has had an addiction, a prerequisite of joining the programme might be that interns must have followed a recognised abstinence-based treatment programme and/or have been clean for a period of at least two years.
There will be a range of placements available, initially within BHT projects (possibly with other local agencies once established) and each placement will be advertised with a full description of the role and its requirements. Each placement will have a dedicated, specially trained mentor to work with the Intern from within the existing staff team they will be working with.
Interns can either be referred into the programme by staff or refer themselves. They will need to complete an application form for the placement they would like to undertake and have an interview. If successful the placement will be organised with the Intern, HR, the Projects’ Manager, the staff mentor and the training department.
The Interns will gain on the job work experience (for at least two days a week) focussing on building confidence and self esteem, introducing and explaining workplace processes, PC and internet training and skills specific to the placement.
Whilst in the placement they will be required to produce a personal development plan which will be regularly reviewed and updated with their mentor.
All interns will be expected to attend a tailored training and induction programme to introduce BHT’s processes and inform around health and safety, professional boundaries and other areas relevant to their role.
Interns will also be supported to undertake further training within BHT or with other external learning providers such as City College, Brighton and Hove. The type of further training could include NVQ and City & Guilds courses, where funding will allow.
Successful completion will result in a placement certificate, a reference, a portfolio of BHT training courses undertaken and a possible job-related qualification.
I am really excited about this programme and I am sure it will help change the lives of those on it.