On October 5th, we welcomed 12 new participants to our 17th Employment Preparation Programme.

This is our first programme since the House re-opened, and whilst we’ve worked hard to make sure participants feel safe and secure in coming back to the House, we’ve done our best to make sure the programme still has plenty of the ingredients that make it special and effective.

Our Employment and Employment Manager, Brian and Mentor Co-Ordinator and Trainer, Jennie share their thoughts on Employment Preparation Programme 17, day 1.

There is nothing like the first day of Programme.

After many weeks of ‘putting the Programme together’ and recruitment, the first day is here and so are the NEW Participants.

Eleven out of the twelve came through the House’s big black doors, with the one person missing letting us know that there were unexpected issues which were a barrier to engagement on the first day.

I have become more and more fascinated with group dynamics while supporting Participants on the Employment Programme and it is safe to say, from Programme one to seventeen, no group has been the same.

This group is generally younger than many we have had and with that comes a certain energy.  It didn’t take long for laughter to reverberate from the Glynne Room, which due to the need for appropriate social distancing, has been commandeered as the main Programme training room.

All the group gave excellent responses in order to create a ‘Group Agreement’ and showed great enthusiasm throughout the day.

We ended the day with a quiz in the Chapel, which showed the competitive spirit and general knowledge of the individuals who were put into smaller groups. It was close and the winners only won by half a point, and that half point was gained by knowing half of the name of one of the Rolling Stones.

Everyone left the House with a smile on their face and we very much look forward to seeing all twelve Participants tomorrow.

Brian Beaton

Programme and Employment Manager


11 good folk and true plus Brian and I from the EA, and we’re off!

It’s the first time we’ve run programme in a Covid safe manner, so our first task is visor creation.  A bit like Blue Peter really.  It challenged me but the participants are on it in no time.  We whip through a bit of team building, name checking with the use of an invisible ball.  It’s amazing how well people do with their acting skills when nudged.  Our first big question is ‘why are you here?’, and there are great reasons, including ‘to improve myself, the people around me and ultimately, the world’.  We love ambition and big dreams, though wow, as trainers this does pile the pressure on a tad.  And is brilliant.

A Covid run through with our Head of Operations follows – wipes and hand goo aplenty.  Then it’s off  for lunch, and we’re glad to report, the whole team gives their food the thumbs up.  We feed in bananas (always green, ask our purchaser) and satsumas during the day too.  The afternoon brings our group contract: how we behave together and what we expect from each other.  Hearing ‘democracy’, ‘teamwork’ and ‘respect’ as opening gambits is uplifting, these participants are really on the same page.  We all sign the contract, with a brief mention of sleep, handy to have at least 7 hours when on programme.

Our final activity is a quiz in the chapel.  It’s chilly but the competitive spirit keeps us warm.  Needless to say the questions on hip hop were more easily answered than the one on the Rolling Stones.  We’re showing our age.

We survived the day and everyone seems keen to come back tomorrow, we’ll be waiting!!

Jennie Carr

Mentor Co-Ordinator and Trainer

To find our more about our Employment Academy, head here: https://hosb.org.uk/our-work/