New scheme to get ex-soldiers off the streets

A new scheme has been launched to help homeless ex-service personnel off the
streets and back into employment.

Project Compass, developed jointly by Business Action on Homelessness,
Training for Life and the Ministry of Defence, is designed specifically for
ex-forces staff who have fallen on hard times.

Up to a quarter of the UK’s rough sleepers have been in the armed forces at
some stage, according to research by the Social Exclusion Unit.

The first four pilot schemes are now under way, with homeless ex-service
staff on work placements at firms including Hilton, Armstrong International and
Publicis.

Business Action on Homelessness has also revealed that more than 100
homeless people have been offered full-time employment after completing work
experience schemes.

New figures from the charity show that 350 people participated in the scheme
between 2000 and 2002 at 100 leading companies, including Marks & Spencer,
Barclays, KPMG, Mercer and Centrica.

Karen Caddick, head of HR policy at Barclays, said the scheme also helped
existing staff develop skills through mentoring those on placements.

"This support is part of our commitment to offer employees a
world-class volunteering programme that enables them to get involved in
community projects of their choice.

"We are offering more work placements to help homeless people get back
on their feet and into work," she said.

The figures also show that since pre-placement training was introduced in
2002, the number of candidates offered full-time work has increased by 18 per
cent.

www.bitc.org.uk

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