We are very, very excited.
Our new ex-homeless recruits from our first ever Connection Crew Academy have been going out to work on some of London’s major global events, such as the Rugby World Cup and London Film Festival.
So, what is Connection Crew Academy and why are we doing it?
We are a social enterprise. We provide employment opportunities for work-ready ex-homeless people. We have been doing this for just about 10 years now but we want to make more of a difference to the growing issue of homelessness.
Until now, ex-homeless crew members were recruited through ongoing referrals from our primary partner and founding charity Connection at St Martins. But – inspired and guided by the success of the Pret Foundation Trust’s and House of St Barnabas’s own employment academies for the ex-homeless – we’ve decided to pilot our own programme, and have partnered up with Crisis to do so.
In a nut-shell, Connection Crew Academy is a crewing industry training and work experience programme dedicated to those who have experienced homelessness, to provide them with a viable opportunity for a fresh start in life, and potentially whole new a career.
Crew Academy truly began ahead of the 10 week programme at the Crisis Employment Platform on the 1st October – a job fair for Crisis’ referrals where they had the opportunity to network with 31 companies and put themselves forward for opportunities. We gave potential applicants an insight into the industry and delivered interview skills workshops. Successful applicants were invited to join the Connection Crew Big Build Day, a taster session where the basics of crewing were introduced through the build of a mock event.
We took on four guys from the Big Build Day – Michael Crevier, Mario Hoti, Modou Lamini and Steve Summers. Once they completed two weeks of intensive training, including on-the-job experience to integrate them into the workforce, they entered the current phase – eight weeks of real paid crewing supported by a mentor from our established crew.
While only a few ex-homeless may be offered a permanent role after graduating from the programme, approximately 30 ex-homeless have benefited from their interaction with the programme as a whole.
This is what, Charlie Dorman, Director of Connection Crew said about it:
“We’re doing this, to support more ex-homeless people, but also to provide quality for our clients. That might be an unexpected outcome to many, but our social agenda creates a supportive and positive working culture that is better for everybody; better for clients, better for crew, and better for those who are looking for a way out of the cycle of homelessness.”
We plan to run the Connection Crew Academy 3 times a year from 2016.