FSEN Online: What is our placement student up to?

Quite some time has passed since Jennifer joined us in mid-July. FSEN tries to take a look at what our placement student has been involved. It turns out Jennifer has been actively involved with one of our FSEN members, Re-employ Ltd.

Interviewer: What did you do at the start?

Jennifer: During the first week, I spent some time learning about social enterprises, their structures, the related policies and operations. I familiarised with the necessary steps individuals need to take in order to set up their own social enterprise, such as the requirements, the procedures etc. I also grasped a variety of frameworks, including the SWOT Analysis, Social Lean Canvas and Logic Model Template. Those frameworks would be conducive to my work for Re-employ Ltd.

SWOT Analysis is a simple but useful framework for analysing a social enterprise's strengths and weaknesses, together with the opportunities and threats that the business faces. It helps the organisation to focus on its strengths, to minimise potential threats and risks, and take the greatest possible advantage of the opportunities available to you, e.g. marketing opportunities, funding opportunities etc.

Interviewer: What did you do after the early phase of training?

Jennifer: I then spent the second week trying to understand the Remploy factory and its operations and faults, then investigated the Connect Program which is linked with the factory; what it entailed, how people from Re-Employ benefited from it. I heard about how Irene came in contact with Re-Employ and the 5 workers whom she now employs; what she’d done before, how she got inspired and how/why she founded Re-Employ. I conducted analysis and explored more in-depth information about Re-Employ: what their vision is, what they have achieved so far, what strengths they have, as well as what barriers they need to overcome.

Interviewer: What other projects have you been involved in?

Jennifer: I have got the chance to conduct one-to-one interviews with the five employees as well as some of the volunteers who support the operation of Re-Employ. The aim of interviews was to come to grasp with their background, their roles in Re-Employ and how they felt there, their experience at the factory and their own background (e.g. if they had done anything else before or after the involvement with Re-Employ). Additionally, the interview was to examine their experience with the Connect Program, followed by their current tasks in Re-Employ, how they like their work, what they would like to see in the future of the social enterprise and what worries they have regarding the future. The volunteers explained their roles as well, how they have been supporting the other employees, what strengths they think Re-Employ has and what the potential threats/weaknesses the social business has. They also shared what hopes and fears they have about the future of Re-Employ. Additionally, I attended a workshop about email marketing.

About Re-Employ Ltd

Re-Employ Ltd is a social enterprise based in Lochgelly who employs people with diverse individual needs to gain skills in the workplace. Comprised mostly of workers with disabilities, the social enterprise has recently celebrated its first anniversary in business. The company had a visit from the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Roger Mullin in June, who presented them with a copy of the Early Day Motion he lodged in Parliament to recognise their work. Mr Mullin MP, had last visited the social enterprise in March, and was impressed by the ‘inspiring’ initiative. Mr Mullin MP said, “I was so impressed during my visit in March, and wanted to do something to highlight the work of Re-Employ.” Re-Employ Founder, Irene Donaldson, has led the way and led the employees, with the help of FSEN, Brag Enterprises and external volunteers, through their training and has been thrilled with their progress to date. Ms Donaldson commented: "The success of Re-Employ is down to the fantastic achievements of the employees, who have worked exceptionally hard to ensure that our customers receive products of excellent quality and real value for money."

To find out more about Re-Employ Ltd please visit https://www.facebook.com/ReEmploy/home.