Connectr & St Giles Trust: Helping to upskill disadvantaged people


19th June 2020

Read time

3 minutes

St Giles Trust believes in a society where everyone has a positive future – no matter their background. They deliver services in over 30 prisons and in the community across the UK – supporting those in the criminal justice system and others facing social exclusion. To support their work helping disadvantaged people to improve their skills and confidence whilst helping others, they are adopting Connectr.

Peer Advisor Programme

St Giles Trust’s Peer Advisor Programme offers accredited Level 3 Advice and Guidance training to people who have experienced disadvantages. The qualification equips them with the professional skills to offer advice and guidance services to others from similar backgrounds. This mix of professional skills and first-hand experience offers highly credible services, which really understand the needs of people who engage with them. The ultimate aim of the programme is to help disadvantaged individuals access employment. Many of them gain paid employment and volunteering opportunities as part of the vocational element to the training.

Our Connectr platform will enable people undertaking St Giles’s Peer Advisor Programme to complete their training and support their fellow Peer Advisors online. This is a particularly crucial need during a time when face-to-face contact is limited due to ongoing social distancing.

Who do St Giles Trust help?

St Giles helps over 25,000 people a year, with a diverse range of needs. These cover:

  • Help for vulnerable young people involved in, or at risk of, criminal exploitation
  • Services helping adults and young people facing unemployment and poverty
  • Help for vulnerable women and families
  • Prison and community-based support for people in the criminal justice system
  • Specialist support for adults facing complex barriers

At St Giles, the majority of their frontline services are delivered by people who have experience of disadvantages such as homelessness, involvement in gangs, a criminal record and substance misuse. Supporting their transition back to work, it’s imperative that they train Peer Advisors to aid the community, and this is where Connectr came into help.

After they’ve completed their training, Peer Advisors can sometimes feel isolated and lacking in confidence. They need more support, and a structured programme to reduce their feelings of isolation.

Prepare for work

Many of the people supported by St Giles have experienced long-term unemployment and need added help to increase their confidence and improve their pre-employment skills. They need to understand disclosure requirements and the job market, along with extra help for applications, CV writing and interview skills.

Entry into work

When they’re in work, many require ongoing support to ensure that the transition to work goes as smoothly as possible. They can experience financial difficulties when coming off benefits, as well as added pressures around travel to work and managing childcare.

Connectr supports them with this in the following ways:

  • Our platform is being used to support St Giles’ newly trained Peer Advisors through a combination of digital modules & mentoring. Trainer assessors become Connectr digital mentors to ensure that the new Peer Advisors have someone to contact who’ll help build confidence with carrying out their roles.
  • Connectr will support training of Peer Advisors to ensure that they don’t feel isolated after their training has completed, and that they feel confident to carry out their roles.
  • Going forward, Connectr will support with their key areas of mental health, self-esteem and confidence issues.
  • When Connectr ‘Forums’ function launches, we can add value as a ‘one-to-many’ support network.
  • Further content support is also accessible through the learning resource modules.

For Connectr, it’s important we are there to support every overlooked and underrepresented individual. At a time when levels of social exclusion are predicted to grow, through our partnership with St Giles we can help build their confidence and skills, and ultimately, their sense of belonging.

Find out how Connectr can turn your D&I strategy into reality.