St Basils Learning, Skills and Work service is available to all our young residents, whether they are living in supported accommodation or supported lodgings.
The aim of St Basils Learning, Skills and Work (LSW) team is to engage St Basils residents aged 16-25 and provide quality information, advice and guidance (IAG). The support available through LSW is designed to empower young people to engage in meaningful activities including employment, education and training. The overriding goal is to help them to develop the skills needed to achieve their goals for the future and become truly independent, maintaining their own tenancy and supporting themselves or working towards this aim.
LSW Officers work closely with young people to support them on the best possible pathway, help them access opportunities and remove any barriers. Young people are assisted in identifying their aims and aspirations using a tool known as the ‘Work Star’ which also helps them track and measure their progress.
Classes and group work
The majority of St Basils larger accommodation projects have designated training rooms with computers and internet access available meaning a lot of training, workshops and exams for qualifications can be held ‘in-house’. This helps removes barriers caused by travel costs, isolation or low confidence.
The LSW team also works in partnership with a range of other organisations to provide classes and opportunities both in-house and externally including literacy and numeracy, creative writing, and employability amongst others.
BOOST is a high intensity programme currently delivered at St Basils’ supported accommodation projects, BOOST is intended support young people with the most complex needs through a wide range of interventions such as Mental Skills Training. Staff work diligently to build relationships and trust with young people, enabling them to effectively guide young people as they make the transition to independence. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach with the BOOST programme; staff work flexibly in order to meet the needs of each young person and work closely with other support staff including those external to St Basils to provide ‘wrap-around support’ and jointly as a team work together to give that young person lots of encouragement, help and motivation to give them an extra ‘boost’.
This programme is delivered in partnership with the School of Sport, Exercises and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham. The Mental Skills Training scheme mixes workshop learning with opportunities for the young people to practice their new skills through a number of individual and team challenges. Sessions are designed to teach young people how to utilise the positive mindsets commonly used in sport to help them build mental stamina and resilience and to make them mindful of how they can apply this to other situations to overcome perceived barriers and achieve positive results. Part of this is the recognition that, as in the world of sport, initial setbacks are a part of the learning process. Approached with the right mindset, it can actually help people to hone their skills to ensure that next time they are on target and can reach their goals. Young people taking part in this programme are consequently more motivated to try again if they suffer an initial setback in pursuing their education, training or employment goals.
One young person said of activities undertaken as part of the Mental Skills Training course:
"I climbed a mountain not just physically but mentally! I was sure I couldn't do it and I told them so, but I did it! My favourite activity was the raft in the water, because I'm actually scared of water and it fell apart the first time but I'm glad I did it and I'd do it again!"
We have a designated Life Skills co-ordinator who runs the Open College Network (OCN) Level 1 Award in Progression Programme. Young people build a portfolio of evidence that allows them to work at their own pace. This is often the start of the young person’s journey back to education and builds their confidence.
Young people choose 3 modules from a choice of 15 Core modules. These include: developing skills for independent life, understanding your pregnancy and preparation for your baby, building a career portfolio, healthy eating, personal budgeting, using cooking skills in a domestic kitchen and others.
Young people can go on to do a further 6 modules, if their discussions with their Support Worker identify that they would benefit from extra sessions in order to be able to live independently. There is a vast range of modules young people can choose from and these are being added to all the time: Life Skills L1 modules list - Jan 16 (PDF).
The whole programme, including the manner of delivery and the life skills graduation awards evening, are designed to make young people feel valued and to value themselves.
At our awards evening, young people share their thoughts on the programmes we run. One young person said:
“I moved here when I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter. The support I have received at St Basils has helped me to learn to look after myself and my daughter, budget my money, cook healthy meals and get myself set up for the future. After being introduced to Life Skills, I have learnt a lot of new things and it has motivated me to get back into education. I now feel confident enough to start a course at college and I am hoping to do Forensic Science.”
Early intervention is important in the prevention of youth homelessness. STaMP is one of the ways we engage with young people whilst they are still in school or education to raise their awareness of the causes of homelessness, to recognise the circumstances that can lead to homelessness and raise awareness of where get help before situations escalate.
There is strong evidence that leaving home at too young an age increases the likelihood of young people becoming homeless. STaMP is delivered across Birmingham and Solihull and sets out to address these issues. We want to encourage young people to think about their move from home as being part of a planned journey into adult life and not a crisis response to immediate problems.
The session is split into two main segments; the first being a whole group interactive exercise that looks at the triggers and impacts of homelessness, with a focus on dispelling some of the myths about homelessness and the kinds of people that become homeless. The second part of the session is a direct testimony from one of our young residents about their experience of homelessness and its impact. This can then include some sort of written or creative exercise to see how much students have taken on board.
Training our young people to become STAMP ‘Peer Mentors’
Our Peer Mentoring programme trains and engages young people who have been homeless, giving them an opportunity to share their experiences and gain skills in conducting presentations and mentoring to other young people.
The Live and Work scheme is a truly innovative scheme, giving 27 young people aged 16-25 from both Sandwell and Birmingham somewhere safe and affordable to live, as well as employment nearby. This gives them the opportunity to access a wide range of employment options and gain some experience, helping them onto the career ladder.
St Basils negotiates real opportunities with employers including apprenticeships, traineeships and work experience as we recognise that these types of opportunities are invaluable to our young people, who may not have the entry level experience required for many positions and who may be unable to move straight into a full time opportunity. These activities also allow young people to consolidate what they have already learnt on other training programmes, or ‘try out’ a career or job that they are considering.
If you can offer an employment or training opportunity to a young person aged 16-25, please contact the LSW Manager, Jackie Redding on 0121 772 2483 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
LSW can also help with removing some of the financial barriers to accessing education, training or employment, particularly with regards to travel costs and sourcing clothes for interviews.
We do not receive any council funding to provide these services to our young people. We rely largely on charitable donations and grants to support young people with travel, child care, books, stationery, tools, clothes for interviews and work experience.
Please consider donating today to help a homeless young person access opportunities that will mean a better future.