GROW Programme


Our GROW Programme provides individuals with a personal insight into homelessness, worklessness and/or experience of receiving mental health services the opportunity to work when they do not have relevant work experience/qualifications to compete in the job market.

We offer entry-level positions and the opportunity to gain a Level 2 qualification.   Following completion of their employment GROW staff will have employment references and the skills and experience they need to compete for jobs on a level playing field.

The programme is based on the principles of providing work experience to people who typically face barriers to employment, and also a recognition that our customers respond well to people who have a greater understanding of the issues they face.

The programme consists of two offers:

  • GROW Trainee for those with little or no work experience
  • Lived Experience Roles which are entry-level roles for work-ready candidates.

Each role comes with differing levels of support and structure depending on the needs of the applicant. For example, support from a network of former and current GROW colleagues as well as a Training Assessor to provide advice and guidance on managing their time effectively in order to complete coursework alongside their normal workload.

Since 2012 we have employed 106 GROW staff with 47 progressing into permanent employment within Riverside.

Route into employment: recognising that some people with personal insight into homelessness may already have skills, qualifications/experience and don’t require traineeships; we offer individuals a direct route into employment. eight staff members have a personal insight into homelessness within our existing Manchester services. Three of these came through our GROW programme.

A minimum of 50% of our staff will be recruited using the principles from GROW, e.g. the position will be ring-fenced for an individual with lived experience.

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