Social Bite has launched a new scheme to help people who have experienced homelessness find employment.
Through its new Jobs First programme, the Scots charity will work directly with some of the UK’s biggest employers to help breakdown the barriers people who have been homeless face on their route to employment
Businesses including BaxterStorey, Mitchells & Butlers, Andron FM, have signed up with a plan to help create a target of 60 employment opportunities.
The program is being part funded through a grant from the Oak Foundation.
The initiative, which guarantees living wage employment for each person, will provide support for both the employer and employee.
Each Jobs First employee will be allocated a support worker from Social Bite who will assist them throughout the programme and their employment contract, meeting weekly to offer practical support on bills and forms, as well as emotional guidance and confidence building to adapt to working life.
George Watson kickstarted the programme today, taking on his role with hospitality provider BaxterStorey who supply Royal Bank’s Gogarburn headquarters in Edinburgh where Social Bite recently opened a café.
Josh Littlejohn MBE, CEO and co-founder of Social Bite, said: “Social Bite started life nine years ago by offering jobs in a small café to people who had experienced homelessness and over that time we have seen the power of employment to change lives.
“Too often, the response to people experiencing homelessness is to ‘get a job’ – however, it’s not that easy. Proactive employers stepping out of their comfort zone to provide chances for those who would otherwise be excluded and a wraparound support alongside the job are the solutions.
“That’s why the Jobs First programme is so important. We will match people who are excluded from the jobs market with some of the UK’s largest employers.
“The wrap around support we will provide will help both employers and employees enjoy a fruitful working partnership.
“At a time when the UK is facing a serious labour shortage, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with major employers to deliver a program of scale throughout the UK that can act as a blueprint for how we can provide employment opportunities for homeless and marginalised people.”
Over the past four years, Social Bite has supported 34 people into employment from a background of homelessness and in total, one quarter of its workforce has experienced homelessness.
Operations manager, Caroline Bacigalupo at BaxterStorey, said: “Jobs First is a fantastic programme and we’re proud to be working with Social Bite to offer training and employment opportunities to people who were previously homeless.
“We’re all thrilled to welcome George on board and can’t wait to support other Jobs First employees reach their full potential as the programme develops.”