Last week, we celebrated the graduation success of all nine participants from our nineteenth Employment Preparation Programme. We delve into the day’s highlights.
Graduation day is an important benchmark at the House for our participants and staff. The ceremony provides the opportunity to share stories, show gratitude, and reflect on the take-aways of a holistic programme of training, workshops and internships. It also allows loved ones and peers to get a sneak-peak into what’s been learnt over the last few months, made more heartfelt by live speeches and performances from participants and staff alike.
This year’s ceremony took place in our Drawing Room, with 60 guests – including our programme facilitators, EPP19 mentors, funders, referral agencies, employers, staff, and our participant’s family. Jane opened and closed the ceremony by sharing some inspirational words, while Kenneth performed one of his poems with such humour and sophistication, he stirred both laughter and pathos in the audience. Celia shared how the programme has helped her to gain the confidence she once lacked, thanking all staff and peers for aiding her on her journey of self-development. Massi gave his thanks to everyone at the House and shared a tender speech that commemorated World Aids Day, which also fell on 1st December.
Our CEO, Rosie, Director of the Employment Academy, Ceri, Programme Manager, Brian and kick-starter, Lydia, all delivered speeches that not only showed their pride for the success of each participant but revealed what an enriching experience working on programme has been for them. Our resident poet and Employment Academy graduate, John Smallshaw, read a couple of poems and reflected on how well the participants engaged with his creative writing workshops whilst on the programme – demonstrated by each rousing performance. The ceremony was followed by refreshments in the Bazelgette Room, tasty cakes and hot drinks provided by our hospitality staff.
Each participant walks away with a City and Guild qualification in either hospitality or business administration, a new network of support, secure housing, and a restored sense of self-confidence and pride. But the journey for our graduates doesn’t stop here. They have a tailored route of progression ahead over the next year and beyond, including funded transportation for the first month after programme, interview preparation, employer partnering, housing support and continued mentoring from our Barnabas community. We recognise that each graduate’s needs are different, and we will be prioritising creating lasting progression routes over haste, with employers who align with our good work ethos – including paying London Living wage and providing secure working contracts.
We can’t wait to see where the road takes each of our graduates, and we’ll be there to support them every step of the way.
Read more about our participants’ journeys to the House and experience of programme by heading – here.