(Melburn – middle right – with his fellow participants getting Suited & Booted as part of their interview preparation)

This week we celebrate the huge achievement of seeing eight participants graduate from our eighteenth Employment Preparation Programme at the House.

After seven weeks of training, workshops, work experience and interview preparation, each participant graduates with a House of St Barnabas Employment Academy Certificate – and some walk away having earned a City of Guild qualification to boot.

We speak to Melburn – who, alongside three other participants, graduates this week having passed the Food Safety and Hygiene level 2 online training (Company-High Speed Training).

Having completed his work experience in hospitality at the House, Melburn talks us through his experience of the programme and how it’s encouraged his ambition of finding lasting, good work in the hospitality sector.


Melburn’s Experience

After a frightening and confusing period of homelessness, I was referred to the Employment Programme by my casework at St Mungo’s – a very caring and dedicated charity made up of wonderful people. I was so happy to be offered a place on the programme and I accepted straight away.

From the moment I walked through the doors of the House of St Barnabas, I felt a strong energy and a warmth of kindness. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but soon I felt more relaxed and able to soak in the lovely atmosphere.

I began to meet some wonderful people – staff, guests, and of course my fellow participants. The group was reserved at first but we all quickly warmed to each other. On our first day of training, we worked with the outstanding Jennie Carr whose teaching style enabled us to connect more readily – it was relaxed and engaging – fitting for the introduction to each other and the programme ahead.

From the first day of the programme my world opened up and I began to understand things in a more enlightened way. Despite each participant in the group coming from different backgrounds, we all accepted each other without judgement. The way we bonded was amazing – it was as if we had known each other before.

I am a person who strongly believes that every person should be given the opportunity to excel in life; if one falls over, you should be given the chance to rise and continue to strive in life. We all have something to contribute to the present, and hopefully, inspire the future.

I am a tailor and have been for many years. In my experience, I have learned that there are varying expectations from people when providing customer service. I understand the importance of finding positive solutions to issues when they arise to move situations forward. I think customer service is important because you can give someone an experience which makes their day, or not!

I’ve enjoyed my work experience in customer service at the House and have had a good time working as a bar tender and waiter. I have found the staff and members to be polite and kind – it was a pleasure learning new skills when on my working shift.

I would like to thank everyone at the House for the opportunity and for their the support. With all that I have taken in over the space of six to seven weeks, I feel I have gained the confidence to reach for the stars. I am not completely sure what kind of employment I would like to pursue next, but I do feel it will involve customer service; I would like to continue putting smiles on people’s faces.

Thank you.

We work to provide people with the support and training they need to find lasting paid employment. To find out more about our Employment Preparation Programme, head here.