The aim of the recruitment and selection process was to identify candidates with the potential to successfully complete the traineeship and move into further employment.
Recruitment for traineeships
Thames Reach recognised that there was a need to modify our recruitment practices, as we had relied mainly on skills assessment and previous work experience when selecting staff.
A requirement of one to two years’ work experience posed an immediate barrier to service users who had no recent work history and had never worked in the sector before – but who did have a valuable direct experience of homelessness. We replaced these recruitment practices with a competency-based process to remove this barrier.
Thames Reach decided not to change our recruitment process for the traineeships, because this would create a double standard. Changes made to the way we assess and select candidates (such as number of years of experience) were changed for all posts in the organisation.
This was important so that staff valued and respected recruitment decisions, and so that negative preconceived ideas or prejudices were not reinforced.
We also wanted to ensure our standards remained high. Having different procedures for the recruitment of service-users could have led to a lowering of our standards.
To ensure we selected candidates who were ‘job ready’, i.e., had a good understanding of the role, their own strengths, needs and motivation, and the skills and abilities suitable for the job, Thames Reach:
- Ensured all potential candidates had a full understanding of the role, the needs of our client group, and the necessary interpersonal and communication skills to do the job effectively (Information sessions and Assessed Project visits)
- Developed a set of minimum criteria relating to a potential candidates’ interpersonal skills, motivation, ability to support others effectively, professional boundaries and literacy skills (person specification)
- Developed a generic job description for support worker trainees that would cover support posts in a variety of different sets and teams
- Applied the same standards to trainees as other staff regarding criminal record checks and references.
- When possible, told candidates where they could receive assistance in completing application forms completion and interview skills.
- Provided unsuccessful candidates with feedback on how to improve their application forms and interview skills.
- Provided unsuccessful candidates with information and ideas on what their next step may be to successfully gain employment in the future. (Stepping Stone – TRaVEL)
- Ensured all candidates’ skills and attributes were assessed during the interview stage using relevant tests and questions
Applying for a traineeship
The traineeships are advertised through:
- Thames Reach’s external website
- Thames Reach’s internal intranet
- Other homelessness agencies’ employment and resettlement services for clients
- Local and national newspapers and publications targeting homeless people.
- Other relevant sector websites and sites aimed at encouraging applicants from diverse backgrounds
Potential candidates are able to download an application pack from Thames Reach’s website or request a copy be sent to them via PeopleMedia, our contracted recruitment agency.
The recruitment and selection process most often includes these elements:
- Information session
- Application form
- Assessed project visit
- Written test
- Maths test
- Criminal Record Check
The traineeship recruitment materials can be downloaded from the traineeship resources page.