Thames Valley Housing’s (TVH) Training & Employment Team’s caseload is filled with residents who face multiple barriers to employment, some of which include; disabilities, mental illness, low motivation levels and low aspirations. Others just need someone to believe in them, guiding them through the steps and giving them the positive encouragement they sometimes aren’t able to get from family or friends.
Rudi Nicholls, Community Access Officer at Thames Valley Housing said: “Having been actively supporting residents in Woking for over two years now, I have a good grasp of the employment market and have also worked with some of society’s most vulnerable people as part of the Esteem Ahead project at The Lighthouse Community Centre.”
Rudi was given a referral from Charlotte Ward, TVH’s Neighbourhood Manager at Kingsmoor Park in Woking to work with a young resident who had just finished college. He is Autistic and was initially quite reserved, with the majority of discussions taking place at first with his sister who was speaking on his behalf. Rudi identified what the resident wanted to gain in terms of employment and then put together a plan of support to help him achieve his employment goals. He discovered that he was interested in part time employment in the retail sector or in an apprenticeship opportunity. An initial CV session took place where Rudi and the resident created a professional CV which showcased his skills and unique selling points so he could begin the application process. Within two weeks he had successfully gained employment at a local shop within walking distance from where he lives. Rudi is still in touch with him to make him aware of apprenticeship opportunities as they arise to ensure he is able to build a long lasting, meaningful career, despite the barriers that he can sometimes face.
Each resident has a different journey and the support on offer can range from speaking two to three times a day to support them with job applications or helping them create and build a CV to giving general advice.