Thames Reach
Saturday 23 September 2017
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GROW project manager

Thames Reach appointed a dedicated manager to set up and run the GROW service user employment scheme. 

Kath Dane, GROW project manager
Kath Dane, GROW project manager

Thames Reach appointed a dedicated GROW project manager to:

  • Lead the organisational culture change

  • Support, develop or implement other routes into employment, such as traineeships, direct employment options, jobs in contracted services and service user volunteering

  • Mainstream the traineeships and culture change near the end of the second year of the programme

  • Disseminate the learning from GROW and influence other homelessness agencies to follow suit in employing service users

Positioning the role

In order to ensure the project was seen by Thames Reach staff as a staff employment issue rather than service delivery project, the GROW project manager was placed in the human resources team in the Central Services Department.

Her desk was located at central office, in close proximity to the directors and service managers to facilitate greater networking and enhance the visibility of the role.

The role was added to the Corporate Management Team, a second-tier management body including service managers from across the organisation and a key point for information sharing and building consensus.

The GROW project manager selected was chosen for her tenaciousness, ability to influence others and skills to develop and delivery new projects.

After mainstreaming

Is there a future for the role?

No. Cultural change has been successful, barriers addressed, policies and procedures reviewed and updated and user employment is fully embedded and harmonised. Therefore, there is no longer a need for a Project Manager.

The role is now focused entirely on the dissemination of Thames Reach’s learning – something that other agencies would not need to replicate.

Do other agencies need a key person to lead user employment?

Yes. We believe it is important to have a dedicated manager to implement the transition, but this role could be allocated to an existing training manager or to an organisation’s HR manager.

If an existing post is given the role of leading the project, it is important that sufficient time is dedicated. We suggest allocating 50% of a full-time training manager post until the concept is fully embedded in the organisation, e.g. two years. However, this will depend on the speed of cultural change required. 

Project manager job description