Thames Reach
Saturday 23 September 2017
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Service user traineeships

Service user traineeships have been an integral part of GROW. They have given capable service users positive employment opportunities and the organisation a valuable tool to change the internal culture and allow us to fully embrace service user employment.

Photo of a former trainee
Mark Whiteford, a former service user trainee, is now a project worker at Thames Reach's Robertson Street hostel

Setting up a traineeship – Key questions

Thinking through the list of questions below will help you to develop a relevant and successful traineeship for your organisation.    

  1. Why are we keen to offer service user traineeships?
  2. What will be the structure and duration of the traineeships?
  3. In which services will we offer traineeships?
  4. What will our recruitment process entail to ensure we recruit suitable trainees?
  5. Will we employ our own current and former service users?
    • If so, what are the issues we need to think through first?
    • What policies or structures might we need to adapt to make this work?
  6. What salary will we pay trainees?
  7. What training package will we provide to trainees?
  8. How will we monitor trainees’ progress and development?
  9. What support will trainees receive –
    • To ensure they have the best learning and development opportunity possible?
    • To ensure they successfully make the transition from being unemployed to being employed; from identifying as a service user to identifying as a professional support worker?
  10. What issues might arise for trainees and their placement teams? How would we overcome these?
  11. How will we support trainees to gain employment once the traineeship is finished?
  12. Who will manage the traineeships?
  13. How will we fund the traineeships?

The information contained on the pages on the left explains:

  • how Thames Reach answered these questions
  • the structures and processes we implemented to make the project work
  • the lessons we have learnt.

By providing this information we hope that other agencies will:

  • see it is possible to set up a successful service user employee scheme
  • learn from our experience and thus avoid some of the pitfalls and difficulties
  • feel confident in adapting any relevant aspects of the GROW project to fit  their own organisational ethos and structures.