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How has our employability service adapted so we can continue to support young people during COVID-19?

Coronavirus or not, our work continues, so we’ve been catching up with various different teams at St Basils, including our employability service, to find out what the challenges have been and how they have adapted so that they can continue to support young people in these difficult times.

St Basils has a team of Employability coaches and every accommodation project has a nominated Employability Coach who is the point of call for young people and staff on training, education and employability matters. It used to be the case that our team of employability coaches would go into each project and run an employability course on site with groups of young residents. This is now no longer possible.

Employability manager, Andrew Mackenzie updates us on how they have had to adapt in the current climate. 

Facebook groups

Our Employability Coaches are in weekly contact with their named project staff. The Employability Team together with the Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE) Team have created ‘Connect Forums’ for each project. These are Facebook groups, administered by the Employability Coaches. They have been designed for the young people and staff to communicate safely while adhering to social distancing; activities, ideas and support are shared within the groups. This has been successful in empowering young people to interact in a positive manner while taking some pressure off the workload of project staff.

Distance Learning

The Employability Team have also rewritten the #YouCan Employability Programme to be compatible with distance learning. Young people are able to work through these online resources independently, but also have support from their Employability Coach via email or video calls.

The Employability Team have also developed a Level 2 OCNWM qualification in Employability and Development. This too is able to be delivered as a distance learning resource. It has been designed to be a progression for young people that have already completed the #YouCan programme, and for young people that are able to access this higher level qualification.

Life Skills delivery has also continued at our supported accommodation schemes. To assist with this student’s work and evidence is being submitted via our internal QL system so it can continue to be verified. The Life Skills Coordinator continues to provide support and training for staff although the method has switched to Microsoft Teams and phone calls.

Improving access 

Working in conjunction with the national End Youth Homelessness entity of which we are a partner, the Employability Team have identified funding streams to support and allow young people to access online education and training opportunities. St Basils has also received a number of donations of laptops from local businesses and other supporters to pass on to young people. This has been a huge help too.

Achieving our goals

The end goal of #YouCan is always to support young people back into training and employment. Within the Employability Team, opportunities for online training and employment are still actively being identified. Our Partnership and Progressions Officer shares these across St Basils.

As a department we have weekly team meetings over Microsoft Teams where ideas and progress is shared. The Employability Team has not stood still, we have looked at the best ways we are able to support our young people and staff. There are obvious challenges but we remain flexible, adaptable with good communication at the heart of providing an effective employability service.


As you can see our Employability staff have adapted well despite the challenges and have continued to find new and innovative ways of working so that they can continue to support young people in these uncertain times.
If you can afford to donate any amount to us to help ensure this important work can continue, you’ll find details of various ways to do so on our donate page:

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