Thames Reach
Tuesday 21 November 2017
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Initially, Thames Reach set up and funded the GROW scheme as a stand-alone project. Since then, the running and financial costs (and savings) of the scheme have been absorbed into the general management of the organisation, or ‘mainstreamed’.

Photo of Chris Smith-Gillespie
Chris Smith-Gillespie, Thames Reach Director of Finance and Central Services

Mainstreamed GROW trainee project

At the time Thames Reach mainstreamed the GROW traineeships, we also ‘harmonised’ all our traineeships (i.e., we merged a number of different traineeship schemes into one).

We set targets in the harmonised traineeship programme to ensure that in every intake, a significant number of new trainees will have a personal experience of homelessness and service use.

In considering the harmonisation of the trainee programme we worked with the following assumptions:

  • We wanted to ‘grow our own’ support workers through a planned trainee programme building on the model which had been successful through GROW.
  • We had built into core budgets a number of trainee posts which were part of the overall staffing complement of those projects. We will continue to consider the use of trainee posts as part of core staffing when we are submitting bids for new work and also when we are restructuring teams or departments.
  • We will have a number of supernumerary trainee posts. The number of these is calculated via a formula which takes account of the total number of trainee posts already in budgets and a calculation of the number of traineeships needed in order to fill the expected turnover for support worker posts.
  • We have incorporated the cost of an additional training manager with responsibility for this trainee programme into the calculations. This cost plus the cost of the supernumerary trainees is charged out to all teams which is calculated on numbers of staff. This represented a 0.4% increase on the salary budget for each team. This is a way of spreading the cost so that it does not fall disproportionately on any one part of the organisation. This allows for any team to bid for a trainee according to the criteria outlined above.

Thames Reach is happy to share the calculations and formulas we use for the traineeship. For more detailed information, please contact Chris Smith Gillespie, Central Services and Finance Director, on 020 7702 5645.

The pre-mainstreamed GROW project

The three-year GROW initiative was funded in part through the European Social Fund and managed by Off the Streets and into Work via the Tackling Multiple Disadvantage programme. The remainder of the funding came through a Trust.

This funding included:

  • Salary costs of 24 trainees
  • Training costs of trainees, placement supervisors, team managers and life coaches
  • Partial travel costs of trainees
  • A comprehensive external evaluation
  • The production of the web pages that contain the lessons and resources from the GROW project
  • The salary cost of the project manager whose role was to drive forward the culture change, develop and mainstream the traineeships and record what we learnt from the project
Audio - A personal experience of funding issues
Audio - A personal experience of funding issues - [3.08 MB] Christine Smith-Gillespie, Director of Finance and Central Services, recounts her positive experience of trainees within Central Services; the opportunities GROW presents to organisations; and the process of funding and mainstreaming the programme.