A partnership that’s making a real difference, to real people

by May 21, 2021News

The City & Guilds Foundation and The Educators’ Trust have teamed up to provide mental health first aid training for a team of advisors delivering vital services to vulnerable young people.  The training which also includes essential digital skills will be delivered through  St Giles – a charity using expertise and real-life past experiences to empower people who are not getting the help they need. People held back by poverty, exploited, abused, dealing with addiction or mental health problems, caught up in crime or a combination of these issues and others.

The history of the Livery Companies and City & Guilds

City & Guilds has been helping economies and individuals develop their skills since 1878, when it was founded by the Corporation of the City of London and the 16 Livery Companies. The organisation continues to work with many livery companies today and is delighted to be joining forces on this occasion with the Worshipful Company of Educators through our Livery Company matched funding programme.

Why St Giles?

The St Giles Peer Advisor Programme provides training and real work experience for people with lived experience of disadvantage to enable them to support others to overcome similar barriers. Lived experience covers a wide range of social issues including involvement with the criminal justice sector, substance misuse, poor physical or mental health, homelessness and domestic violence.

Over a period of eight to twelve months, peer advisors complete the City & Guilds assured Learning to Advise programme and then work towards achieving the City & Guilds level 3 Certificate in Advice and Guidance. This training along with a voluntary placement with St Giles or another community organisation enables many peer advisors to move into paid employment within the advice and guidance/support sector.

Identifying a skills gap

St Giles and Educators

It has been identified in feedback from peer advisors and from placement providers that while the programme prepares peer advisors well for employment within the sector, some can lack the digital skills which are often required to enable them to be fully effective in their role.

It is also recognised that many peer advisors work with clients who have increasingly complex needs including those who are experiencing mental health issues and that they would benefit from further training to enable them to identify and respond to the needs of these clients more effectively.

The £5,000 funding from the City & Guilds Foundation and The Educators is supporting 50 of St Giles’ peer advisors to take part in Mental Health First Aid & Essential Digital Skills Training, which will see them be able to use devices and handle information, communicate effectively online, learn practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of mental health issues and, develop an in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing.

‘We are delighted to be working with the City & Guilds Foundation to provide opportunities to people who face a number of barriers when needing to develop their skills. This is a great example of how, when working together, we’re able to make a real difference to real people.’

Dr Jennie Somerville from Worshipful Company of Educators

‘We are so grateful to the City & Guilds Foundation and The Educators for their funding, which is allowing us to further develop the skills of our Peer Advisors. We know that this is going to make a real difference to the Peer Advisors as individuals but also to the clients they work with, ultimately making the service we deliver better.’

Carol Thomson from St Giles

The City & Guilds Foundation will be measuring the impact of the funding as part of its social impact measurement which looks at the societal impact it’s having as an organisation. You can read the most recent social impact report here.

To find out more about St Giles and the services they offer click here.

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