The aim of the GREAT Project is to provide tailored and flexible support to enable participants to engage with a range of support services and activities, including training and work experience opportunities, to help them progress towards and into employment.
What that means, in practice, is that we work with a number of dedicated and innovative partners to be able to truly take the needs of each individual into account, and provide a wide range of support options.
In turn, our Navigators work directly with GREAT Project participants to identify and manage their particular barriers to work and to view employment as an achievable goal.
One of those partners is Personal Development Point (PDP) who provide specialist personal development training – in this instance, Total Commitment Training, an innovative programme that supports participants in building confidence, encouraging team work and identifying skills through interactive training and group challenges.
We spoke to John, one of our Navigators about his experience with TCT and the reactions of those who took part.
Could you take me through your personal experience of the training?
“Before Christmas, I did the TCT myself, along with a “train the trainer” day. So, I was supporting and facilitating the programme, but also taking part. For me, the experience was excellent. The bonding that we had as a team was fantastic. It’s not a training course where you’re sitting in front of a PowerPoint or being lectured to. It’s not that kind of thing. It’s a participation thing.”
Tell us a little more about what the training consists of.
“It’s different depending on the needs of the group, the size of the group. But it’s a collection of tasks designed to help them work together, to discover skills they may not realise they had, as they collaborate to solve the problem at hand. It could be learning a Shakespearean sonnet, that they have to recite in order. There are memory tasks, for instance, memorising cards laid out on a table and having to find pairs. There are speed tests, where you have to assemble a jigsaw puzzle in a set period of time. They are all designed to test different areas and make people think differently about themselves and what they can accomplish, both individually and as part of a group. Making sure everyone is listened to, that everyone feels a part of it.”
“You develop the programme for each group. On the first day, there are confidence-building exercises, icebreakers, that help us discover what may be specifically useful to each group.”
How does the training help, for instance, in moving towards work?
“It shows people they have skills. Skills they may not even realise they have. They’re given the opportunity to succeed as a group. And to fail. How both make everyone feel. It makes everyone ask questions: “What am I good at?”, “What do I need support with?” And we can be identifying those things as well and offering support.”
“Participants learn to consider others and work as a team. They can see their own leadership skills in a new context. They learn how they react to both success and failure, and how they pick themselves up from the latter. All of these things can increase confidence in not only finding work, but knowing they have the skills to do that work.”
And what was the reaction of the participants?
“Everyone committed to it. They turned up every day. Everybody loved it. Everyone came out of it buzzing, asking “What’s next?””
“We were hearing all of the things we hoped for: “One of the best experiences I’ve had”, “I never thought of doing anything like that.” It’s spurred people on. They’ve seen themselves achieve something. The reaction at the end when they achieved the final goal – not every group does – was amazing.”
“Here’s one example that impressed me: We had one participant who was struggling to get there. She had car trouble. Not only did she do everything to let us know, she got the neighbour round to fix the car. She managed a 10-mile journey with her car only going into second gear, just to be there.”
“At first, understandably, they were sceptical. These people want to work. And we were asking them to commit four days to throwing balls into a bucket or putting a jigsaw puzzle together. But no one questioned the reasons afterwards. They all got it.”
What was the experience like for you?
“It’s been great. It’s helped me as a Navigator to engage with people. You have to throw yourself into it. You can’t be on the edge; you have to be involved. And I think my commitment helped them to commit to it. Because they saw my enthusiasm.”
“The team still has a special bond. We’ll always have that. That four days we did. You can’t put your finger on it. Until you experience it, it’s difficult to describe.”
“Seeing people progress was amazing. But I know that I progressed too.”
Total Commitment Training is just one of the programmes we can offer to GREAT Project participants who want to move towards work and training.
To learn more about referring yourself, or being referred to the GREAT Project, please contact us via the link below: