Work Placement

The SLBI Work Experience Scheme was a new approach to invigorating the south London economy. The aim was to help young south Londoners break into the job market or acquire work experience and so improve their employment prospects.

Wally Baker explains. “We are asking companies to take a trainee for a 12 week period, during which we will fully support them in terms of counselling and training. The company has an opportunity to assess their trainee and if at the end of that period they feel they can offer them employment, then great. If they are not satisfied then they can send the person back to us and the trainee doesn’t suffer that sense of failure you get if you are fired from a job.”

The SLBI acted as a broker, trying to place people in employment. These are often people whom employers would not usually look at, so SLBI helped them improve their presentation skills before even arranging an interview. Wally explains. “Before we send somebody out we ensure they have a good CV, that they present themselves properly and that they have got their interviewing skills together so that they make a good impression”

The pilot went well and so SLBI are continued to developing the work experience programme with the help of Bernard Savory. “We are placing people with the larger companies, major retailers, banks, government offices, the utilities like LEB and the Gas Board. They were very helpful and supportive. But we also promoted this resource to smaller companies as well. Seminars promoted the scheme to companies to make them aware of their responsibilities and help them employ people with disabilities and people from the minorities.”

The Work Placement project is managed by Bernard Savory, a former personnel manager at British Steel, it is sponsored by City Action Team and Marks & Spencer.