Thames Reach
Friday 17 November 2017
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Staff support for trainees

Service user trainees receive various forms of support from existing staff members.

Placement supervisors

At Thames Reach we decided that the best staff to offer placement supervision were interested project workers with support from their line manager. Placement supervisors:

  • Take responsibility for a trainee’s induction into the team, project and specific role
  • Ensure they are provided with learning opportunities
  • Oversee the development of their competencies
  • Conduct regular supervisions
  • Conduct quarterly reviews
  • When appropriate, update the trainee’s other support network, e.g. life coach, about issues impacting on work and progress in their development

Placement supervisors typically spend 10% to 15% of their time on this role, depending on the trainee.

More information on the role of placement supervisors

Download the placement supervisor job description from the traineeship resources page.


Buddies are located within the placement team and usually volunteer for the role. They spend approximately one hour per week supporting trainees during the first month of the placement. This involves helping them to settle in and answering minor work-related enquiries, after which support is given on an informal, ad hoc basis with hours varying depending on the level of need.

More information on the role of buddies

Download the buddy job description from the traineeship resources page.

Life coaches

Trainees are provided with a life coach to assist them to successfully make the emotional and psychological transition from homelessness to employment, and to help them to move on into other paid employment.

Life coaches are selected from the whole range of staff within Thames Reach, as long as they are not in the team where the trainee is on placement. We currently have life coaches that are senior managers, PAs and project workers.

As with buddies, staff often volunteer to be life coaches and the responsibility is incorporated into their existing job. They are selected on the basis of their willingness and aptitude for the job.

Life coaches provide more support at the beginning and end of the traineeship in order to help with the periods of greatest change, as shown:

  • Months 1 to 3 – 4 hours per month
  • Months 4 to 9 – 2 hours per month
  • Months 10 to 12 – 4 hours per month.

More information on the role of life coaches

Download a summary of the life coaching service from the traineeship resources page.