Name: Tracy Viner
Company: Cathedral Archer Project
Position: Marketing and Development Manager
Company background: The Cathedral Archer Project is a day centre for homeless adults based at the back of Sheffield Cathedral. It works with the homeless to give them urgent, immediate support such as food, clothing, showers, laundry, medical and dental care as well as support into accommodation, where possible. One of the main aims is to support the clients to make changes in their lives and move out of homelessness. This is done in many ways including offering a range of activities to build self-esteem and achievement, education and skills training as well as volunteering opportunities in the project. Working with over 1,000 of the city’s most chaotic individuals each year, the Cathedral Archer Project is seen as a key player in addressing the homeless issues for the city.
What has your experience with RISE Sheffield been like? It has been easy! Everyone has been helpful, informative and friendly. The information has been timely, the process straightforward and I have felt supported and informed all the way. The support materials have been excellent. The whole process has exceeded my expectations.
Did you have any experience of recruiting graduates before your RISE intern? Yes, we had 2 graduates previously from a graduate employment scheme in Sheffield (Future Jobs Fund). The graduates were excellent but the process was not as supportive and the match was not as planned or as good. This was fully funded for 6 months on a basic salary so it did not cost us anything.
What do you think Sam has added to the business? Loads! He has taken on a branch of the fundraising strategy that I just hadn’t had the time to develop or nurture. It has meant we can deliver a new event, support more external events, recruit support and increase our income. But more than that... it has given me a “team” - someone to discuss ideas with and share some of the basic workload. In real terms, we now have a pack to hand out to supporters, our social media is now planned rather than just reactive and the website is up to date. On top of that Sam questions and challenges me and decisions in a positive way, which helps us make changes and improve how we work to maximise opportunities.
Have you noticed any specific benefits from employing graduates? The written work is good, they can apply their time well and are happy to work on their own initiative and are not afraid to ask if they don’t understand something. They look at scenarios with fresh eyes and ask questions – challenging but helping to change and improve.
They are up to date with technology!
And any hurdles you’ve had to overcome? Learning about delegating and briefing so we both understand expectations has been important, as has not assuming too much or too little knowledge. Secondly, letting go of certain tasks and allowing Sam to take responsibility for something I have always looked after. Not that he isn’t doing a good job; I’m just not used to having the support.
Do you have any advice for SMEs thinking of taking on a graduate for the first time? Allow time for a full induction and learning process. It may seem to be slow and hard work and taking too long but more than pays off. Take some risks and let the graduate try something new or in a new way. Let them make mistakes and learn from them. Give them space to be themselves and have regular catch up sessions so you know what they are doing and can make suggestions and adjustments and offer support.