A Unique Individual Journey

Check-In Giraffe

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth 10. Reduced Inequalities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Overview

The innovation which occurs at Giraffe in this instance relates to their business model which has been developed and improved since its implementation. One of their main purposes is to offer valuable work experience to those involved and the innovation allows them to do this in a unique way. For example, on their main site there is a training kitchen and a garden centre which offers multiple scenarios in which someone can gain work experience. The organisation also has a smaller secondary location which is strategically located outside of a popular bus station which brings a large attraction to the workplace. Although, it would seem that work experience was the forefront of the company’s mission, in the interview it was emphasised that “As well as the work experience, we aim to have an extremely supportive environment.” There is no single goal at Giraffe; there is a multitude of goals which all aim to achieve one thing: improving an individual’s chance at getting a job.

Their most recent innovation emerged as a result of identifying a method to accurately identify an individual’s needs in terms of confidence, levels of training and employability experience. This innovation is called the Giraffe Journey, an employability program which is set up to gain an understanding of an individual’s specific requirements so they can be focused on more. The reason for this innovation was stated as “identifying an individual’s needs, improving on these, allowing the individual to grow and ultimately get a job in the community.”

Authors

Wai Hung Teng

Wai Hung Teng

Calum Sovran

Calum Sovran

Tereza Kidane

Tereza Kidane

Alexander Paterson

Alexander Paterson

Harun Zaheer

Harun Zaheer

Irfan Hussain

Irfan Hussain

School

Glasgow Caledonian University

Glasgow Caledonian University

Professor

Leslie Huckfield

Leslie Huckfield

Innovation

The innovation which occurs at Giraffe in this instance relates to their business model which has been developed and improved since its implementation. One of their main purposes is to offer valuable work experience to those involved and the innovation allows them to do this in a unique way. For example, on their main site there is a training kitchen and a garden centre which offers multiple scenarios in which someone can gain work experience. The organisation also has a smaller secondary location which is strategically located outside of a popular bus station which brings a large attraction to the workplace. Although, it would seem that work experience was the forefront of the company’s mission, in the interview it was emphasised that “As well as the work experience, we aim to have an extremely supportive environment.” There is no single goal at Giraffe; there is a multitude of goals which all aim to achieve one thing: improving an individual’s chance at getting a job.

Their most recent innovation emerged as a result of identifying a method to accurately identify an individual’s needs in terms of confidence, levels of training and employability experience. This innovation is called the Giraffe Journey, an employability program which is set up to gain an understanding of an individual’s specific requirements so they can be focused on more. The reason for this innovation was stated as “identifying an individual’s needs, improving on these, allowing the individual to grow and ultimately get a job in the community.”

A Unique Individual Journey

Inspiration

The organisations original idea was set up around eleven years ago by a man named James Alexander who had a background in social care. He initially saw a gap in the market to support people with barriers in entering a workplace. These barriers included multiple conditions such as learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism, homelessness and possibly being in a care system. The creation of this social enterprise allowed the people who were involved to have a supportive place to gain vital work experience and improve employability skills. This was specifically referred to by the organisation as “an opportunity to give someone a safe place”. This quote links in perfectly with the organisations motivations for originally creating the organisation which was their belief that “everybody has the right to work in life”. The proposition of helping people who are not fully equipped to enter a working environment by supporting them in a safe and friendly environment was a key purpose in the inspiration behind Check-in Giraffe. Further inspirations included addressing the issue of discrimination, stigma and the lack of understanding among the public and local employers about the positive skills and attributes that disadvantaged people can bring to the workplace. Another area which was deemed to need improved was the lack of part-time paid employment opportunities and training which gave job seekers vital experience and credibility when applying for work with local employers.

Overall impact

Giraffe aims to create sustainable employment for people with barriers in entering a workplace. The organisation supports people who have learning disabilities, mental issues, autism, possibly being in a care system and homelessness. They offer work experience to those people, for example training and hygiene courses or on site work such as working in a garden centre.

The business benefits the community by providing an employability program called “Giraffe Journey” to identify individual needs in terms of confidence, levels of training and employability experience. People with multiple challenges therefore have an opportunity to increase their confidence and provide them with an equal chance. As the interviewee, Sarah stated “I think it is all about making sure the employment is for everybody. Everybody should have a chance to work and to contribute to the community.” Giraffe’s vision is to provide jobs to local employees and Scotland as a whole to include everybody as much as possible.

The organisation’s aims reflect Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and more specifically Goal 8, 10 and 12. For 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”, Goal 10 “Reduce inequality within and among countries” and Goal 12 “Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”. In terms of supporting the environment, the organisation has a garden which provides fruits and vegetables as ingredients and provides training courses for understanding managing waste. This program contributing to minimise their food waste towards the environment and the organisation also intend to take in a reusable coffee cup scheme funded by Zero Waste Scotland.

Business benefit

Giraffe has made strides in the local Perthshire community from a business stand point. The enterprise provides a diverse range of services, from 2 cafes (Giraffe and Mill St) catering to the local community, gift shops and external catering services for various private functions.

One clear benefit would be creating better
future careers prospects for the individuals that would have otherwise have
struggled on their own. According to the site, the enterprise in 2015 have
supported 70 jobseekers, helping them to gain skills and cover 8 vocational
streams in terms of employment training. This often comes in the form of
confidence building exercises needed for the workforce, a service that not many
employers would be able to provide. As well as employees, Giraffe is also
supported by 76 dedicated volunteers and also provides placement opportunities
to Social Work students. Giraffe provide a number of accredited qualifications
and training services in the areas of food hygiene, customer service, first
aid, cooking skills and horticulture.

One of the ways the business has been able to reach a wider demographic is the proactive approach of reaching out to schools and colleges for potential employees who could use their service. Regular consultation with these schools means they can identify individuals with more developmental needs and require more support. Giraffe are also involved in the Volunteering Network and Employability network in Perth, so they can work together with other programmes. These partnerships can be helpful in establishing their brand as well as expand for the future.

The business also owns a garden, where produce is grown and tended to my employees and volunteers, using the produce to make healthy recipes. This also ties into the social and environmental benefits that they contribute to.

Social and environmental benefit

With the world becoming more and more socially conscious and progressive it could be assumed that jobs are now available to ‘everyone’ regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation. Whether you believe this to be true or not – it can be argued that one group of people specifically face the most issues when it comes to employment, people with physical or mental disabilities. Giraffe fight this battle on a daily basis as they believe that employment is for everybody – everyone should have an opportunity to work and contribute to the community. They help by offering a wide range of support for people with disabilities who are seeking employment and aim to help them build themselves up.

Firstly, they sit down with the candidates to discuss what exactly it is they want to gain from the experience, for example a job or a college placement. After this they then work closely with each candidate helping them to build and develop a wide range of skills and qualities to which they can apply to a job. This includes but is not limited to, helping candidates write a CV, train staff to work in a kitchen and in fast paced environment to which they may not be used to and gain a vast amount of knowledge and experience before heading off into the world of work. This hugely benefits people within this social sector as once before they may have even struggled to cope with something as little as taking an order from a stranger. Working closely with these candidates, Giraffe helps not only to build their skills but also their confidence and ability within the work place. Their aim is for whenever someone walks into one of their café’s, they would not be able to tell who is a trainee or a volunteer.

Giraffe also have many environmental benefits as they aim to minimise their waste and even run a course in the programme, so staff have an understanding of waste management. They also work with fair share so that no food is gone to waste from supermarkets instead Giraffe would obtain this and use it to create strange and wonderful recipes for their café’s. They also source their meat locally in order to reduce food miles and grow their own fruit and vegetables and it is one of the organisations goals to sell bags of vegetables in season to encourage seasonal produce. Furthermore, the organisation Is also involved with the have you got the bottle scheme and are interested to take part in a reusable coffee cup scheme which would be funded by Zero Waste Scotland.

Interview

Sarah Bradley, Manager

Keep this story going! Share below!

Check-In Giraffe

Check-In Giraffe

Perth, UK

Business Website: http://checkin-giraffe.uk/

Year Founded: 2008

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Giraffe Trading a Social Enterprise, first Community Interest Company (CIC) based in Perth, set up 10/11 years ago by a man named James Alexander who had a Social Care background. A community interest company was established in order to continue providing benefits to the community in an innovative way. One example of this is through a mandatory CIC report which is public record, this allows the public to assess how beneficial an organisation is being to the community. Giraffe offers employment opportunities to the community with significant disadvantages and barriers such as learning disabilities, mental health issues, autism, care system and homelessness. The opportunities available include access to real work based training, development of skills and experiences, accredited qualifications and employment skills. One example of their workplace activities include C.V. writing sessions or mock interview sessions in order to prepare someone for work. Accredited training is also provided and participants can achieve awards in first aid, food hygiene and customer service. The organisation operates from two well-established cafes within the city centre, using this platform to provide essential training to job seekers. Giraffe offers employability program which is a journey for the individual known as the Giraffe Journey. This programme ensures the Giraffe explores all possible routes to help each individual progress in relation to their confidence and experience as well as encouraging individuals to seek higher education and secure employment opportunities.