About us: What We Do
Ucan-Learn.Work.Live provides a supportive and friendly learning environment within which individuals can gain a range of “real” work experiences such as working in our training kitchen, workshop, craft room as well as external work and gardening projects. Individuals also get the opportunity to improve their IT and core skills, daily living skills and general personal development through our Music/ Recording room and Gym as well as a wide range of social activities.
Key groups that we currently work with include:
- Young people
- Individuals with learning disabilities
- Individuals experiencing mental health difficulties
- The long term unemployed
Our key aim is to “Develop People for Work and Life”
By working in partnership with individuals we aim to provide a service that addresses their specific needs, builds on their skills and abilities, offers recognised qualifications where appropriate and offers real work employment experiences.
In promoting an environment of support, choice and inclusion we see a potentially significant impact on the individual’s life choices; from greater independence in their personal lives to moving on from this service in to specific training, further education or employment.
Furthermore, as the individual develops, we also see a substantial benefit to the families and carers too. Very often they have had to make significant personal sacrifices in order to care, support and advocate for that individual. It is certainly our intention to allow families/ carers the opportunity to use our centre to meet and share common experiences and gain peer support should they wish to do so.
In order to ascertain our suitability for an individual and what we can do for them, we have set out a simple but effective application process:
- The initial visit:
Following an initial enquiry, either by phone or via our website an initial visit is arranged. This can be arranged by the individual, their family or carer or social worker.
Visits can and may happen more than once depending on the individual and their personal circumstances. Importantly however, they are an opportunity to have a look at the range of activities on offer first hand, talk to staff and current trainees and ask questions.
We understand that Ucan may not be the right place for everyone and that we cannot meet everyone’s needs; this may well be identified at the initial visit. If the visit is successful however, an application form should be completed and submitted to Ucan. This application is designed to tell us a bit about the candidate, previous courses, experiences and achievements as well as any specific assessments of learning needs and support requirements. This application will then be considered by Ucan staff to see how we may be able to help. (A copy of the application form can be downloaded from this website)
- Informal Interview:
Once we receive an application we then invite the individual to attend an interview at the centre. This interview is used to collect further information from the candidate on how Ucan can help them achieve their personal goals, allowing them the chance to talk about the things that are important to them, the things they would like to improve and importantly how we can help.
- Assessment Period:
All successful applicants start on an initial transitional basis usually one but no more than two days per week for at least one month. This is to ensure that the individual is given time to settle in and so that the Ucan team can make further assessments and work with the individual to set appropriate targets. Following this period of assessment it may be possible to increase attendance to a maximum of three days. These three days will be as a funded trainee, however, for many there is the chance that a further day will be allocated for a paid work placement, should employability be a key aim.
- Ongoing Reviews:
After the appropriate transitional period, it is important that the individual trainee gets both feedback and the opportunity to discuss their own progress towards planned goals. Reports are produced on a regular basis and are made available to all appropriate parties and most importantly the trainee themselves. Where necessary a meeting will be held and in all instances a recommendation will be made for future attendance. This may include a plan for moving on from Ucan.
- Future Outcomes:
Setting appropriate outcomes with individuals is a key part of Ucan’s role. We appreciate that for many, achieving certain key outcomes such as employment and full independence has already presented them with a significant challenge, and may always do so. Helping individuals successfully move on is a key target for the team at Ucan. Therefore, by ensuring good planning from the outset, continued communication and progress review throughout and providing of our own potential outcomes for individuals, we are well placed to provide such outcomes.
Therefore, outcomes include:
Independence – Gaining an element of independence in any aspect of your life has to be a key outcome for everyone. Attending Ucan has allowed many individuals to do just this; whether its been independent travel training and/ or other daily living skills such as budgeting and cooking skills. Gaining independence in such areas may be all an individual feels they require in order to move on with their lives and access other opportunities or indeed their community.
Moving on to further training or college – For many, securing a college or vocational training is a key outcome. These offer individuals the chance to pursue life ambition and recognised qualifications at a variety of levels as well as access work experience. For some however, accessing such provision is perhaps not appropriate at this time. Therefore, by attending Ucan, many individuals have been helped to develop the vital preparatory core and social skills, experience and importantly the confidence to do so.
(Note: Currently UCan-Learn.Work.Live is not delivering any of Skills Development Scotland’s Employability Fund provision; although this is likely to change soon.)
Securing employment with an external employer – Getting a job is certainly a key ambition for many who attend Ucan. Through our support we can provide appropriate skills development and where appropriate, qualifications. We work with individuals to set realistic targets and importantly provide a wide range of “real” work experiences both with local employers and within our own business enterprises.
Securing employment within one of Ucan’s own business enterprises – At Ucan we appreciate how difficult it can be for many individuals to access work opportunities and sustained employment, particularly if they have additional needs or health difficulties. Therefore, whilst we continue to work with employers and promote the valuable contribution that many excluded from employment can make, our approach is to create real work experiences either within Ucan itself or through the many enterprise initiatives we have and continue to develop. This approach has already enabled individuals to make a transitional start from trainee to employee.
It is noteworthy that Ucan pays its trainees a subsistence allowance during any work placement period.