Aspire – YMCA Cardiff
Aspire is an employability project, which supports participants to move closer to the workplace.
Participants accepted have a mental health condition, have been unemployed on average for five years, are claiming benefits and are homeless. This makes them a group defined as ‘hardest to reach’ and the most unlikely to come off benefits. With existing employment schemes and recruitment channels not proving effective, Aspire supports participants towards employment in a manageable and supportive way.
Participants attend four weeks of training, learning coping strategies for their mental health, enhancing their employability skills and, depending on the pathway they choose, gaining qualifications.
Aspire is based at YMCA Cardiff’s homeless hostel. This familiar environment has facilitated regular positive engagement, which has led to a series of positive outcomes. 63 residents have taken part in the programme since its inception in 2016. Every participant has gained five or more development outcomes, from creating a CV to completing sessions with a workplace psychologist.
All participants state they have seen an improvement in their mental wellbeing and self-esteem and that they feel more prepared for the workplace as a result of the programme. 89% report they have learnt or improved existing skills.
Following the training period, participants are linked with local businesses for supported work placements, enabling them to gain experience, showcase their skills and allow businesses to witness their potential.