The aim of the Equipped to Change project is to support DENS Service Users in continuing to improve their lives and, where appropriate, to move into employment. The project is co-ordinated and led by the Education, Training and Employment (ETE) Manager.
The majority of Service Users living in DENS properties, other than The Elms, work with the ETE Manager, regardless of which benefits they are on. Where residents are already in full time employment they usually only meet with the ETE Manager if they ask to do so.
The Elms residents work with the ETE Manager on an ad hoc basis.
The ETE Manager:
Works one to one with Service Users to provide individualised, targeted support. This can include work on CVs or letters of application, job searching, submitting job applications, accessing education, training, employment or volunteering
Maintains contact and liaises with local organisations that provide education, training, employment or volunteering opportunities in the local area
Supports Service Users in accessing education, training or employment opportunities
Co-ordinates the DENS “in-house” training
Liaises with the Service User’s key worker or resettlement worker
Manages the ETC base, at the Hub, where Service Users can access computers, the internet and a printer
Meetings are usually weekly to start with, they become less frequent as the need for support reduces. Meetings usually take place at the Elms.
The ETE Manager has been working to develop a rolling programme of training and activites that will be open to all DENS service users. DENS staff and volunteers are running some activities, such as a twice weekly Job Club, other activies are run in partnership with local organisations, including first aid courses, gardening, Dance, yoga and kickboxercise.
When Tony came to Hemel Hempstead he was in need of somewhere to live and was referred to the DENS Night Shelter. Tony proved to be a model resident and after about a month he moved on to a one bedroom flat under the DENS Rent Aid scheme. Tony became an active DENS volunteer going out on the DENS van collecting and delivering furniture for the furniture warehouse and food for the DENS Dacorum Foodbank. Tony continued to look for work, often usig the laptops at the DENS Equipped to Change base for his job searching and applications. In April the Education, Training and Employment Manager was contacted by a director of a local business who was looking to recruit a member of staff. The company was in the process of adapting their premises prior to starting production later in the year. Tony was put forward as a possible candidate, he was interviewed and offered a full time job; he started work a few days later. Tony has been in work for almost three months, he is well settled and enjoying his work.
Shortly after moving into a move-on property, Jessica approached the DENS Equipped to Change Manager for some help with improving her CV and looking for a job. Jessica made many online applications and also showed initiative by going into shops, restaurants and pubs. In no time at all, she was offered work at a store in town, not as a regular member of staff but straight away as a supervisor - she was delighted and is happily settling into her new role.
Equipped To Change Latest News
DENS service users have the opportunity to take part in a coppicing project being run by The Groundwork Trust. They are working at Dacorum Borough Council's Bunkers Park to cut down hazel trees which can than then be converted into firewood bundles for sale at DENS Retail and other outlets. The hazel trees at Bunkers Park need to be cut and managed regularly as part of the park's management plan and they readily regrow to produce a local, sustainable product.
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