Employability and Skills Placement Programme

Our Employability and Skills Placement (ESP) Programme offers six-month work placements to those who are experiencing barriers to employment.

We have a range of opportunities within BHT Sussex and local organisations, available for those living within Brighton and Hove.

If you are looking for opportunities to gain work place skills and experience, then the ESP Programme at BHT Sussex could be for you! It will provide you with a work placement, training and support from your own dedicated Mentor.

The ESP Programme focuses on key employability skills and provides you with opportunities to learn and develop the types of skills that employers look for when recruiting new staff.

You may be eligible to take part in this programme if you:

  • have experienced homelessness, mental health difficulties, substance misuse problems, domestic violence and/or multiple complex needs
  • have been long-term unemployed or never previously employed
  • are in receipt of benefits.

This programme is funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Information for trainees

Placements typically last for six months with a focus on employability, personal development, and professional development. Trainees begin working one or two days per week and have the opportunity to increase this commitment as the placement progresses.

We provide work experience in the following areas:

Advice and guidance
Care work
Computer work
Factory production

Fundraising and Publicity
General Office Work
Human Resources
Mental Health

Substance misuse
Support work
Warehouse work
Women’s services
Young people

Benefits of participating in the programme

  • Access to high quality training
  • A dedicated mentor to provide guidance and support
  • A tailored personal development plan
  • The opportunity to develop key employability skills.
  • Six months of valuable work experience
  • Assistance with crafting CVs, job applications, and interviews
  • Travel expenses reimbursed
  • References and training certificates

Frequently Asked Questions

The ESP Programme is for people who:

  • have experienced homelessness, mental health difficulties, substance misuse problems, offending, domestic violence and/or multiple complex needs
  • have been long-term unemployed or never previously employed
  • are in receipt of benefits.

No, trainees on the ESP Programme are not paid. Although unpaid, the programme offers valuable networking opportunities and a chance to gain practical experience in your field of interest, which could potentially lead to future job opportunities.

A positive outcome of being on the programme is getting back into employment, so it is an amazing achievement when a trainee finds themselves a job. You can leave the placement at any time and are under no obligation to remain on placement. You can also continue the programme alongside part-time employment if you wish.

Prior to starting a placement, you will take part in training on ‘Professionalism, Boundaries, and Confidentiality’ delivered by the Coordinator. Trainees also receive additional training through the BHT Sussex Training Department and have access to our E-learning platform.

While on placement, you will receive on-the-job training through guidance from your mentor and you will work together to identify any additional training opportunities within or external to BHT Sussex.

During the second half of placements, you will benefit from a range of Professional Development sessions. These include assistance with crafting effective CVs, filling out application forms, improving interview skills, creating covering letters, developing key employability skills, and navigating the job search process.

It is important that you show a level of motivation and commitment to your placement. To make the most out of the placement, we recommend setting clear goals for what you want to achieve, being proactive in seeking out new opportunities to learn and grow, building relationships with colleagues and professionals, utilising any resources or training opportunities offered by the programme and approaching work with a positive attitude.

How to apply

To apply for the programme and take the next steps towards employment, please download the application forms below and submit the completed forms to Matilda Van Orden using the contact details below.

We would be more than happy to give you more information about the programme and answer any questions you might have to help you decide if it is right for you. If you meet the eligibility criteria and we think you will be a good fit for the programme, we will arrange to meet with you to discuss next steps.


My mentor was extremely approachable and very laid back in his attitude. He always had time for questions and never reprimanded me for my mistakes. He allowed to me to be a full member of the team and experience all of the tasks in which I would be asked of in the role."

- Ricky, Placement Participant

I’ve really enjoyed my placement. The help and support has been wonderful. My CV looks great now and I’ve learnt so much.”

- Placement Participant

Information for Placement Providers

Are you interested in providing opportunities to those that need it? Would you like to support your local community in helping people back into work and improving their employability? The EPS Programme at BHT Sussex could help you with this.

Benefits of becoming a placement provider

  • Staff development: Mentoring individuals on work experience offers an excellent opportunity to develop staff management capabilities including leadership, management, and supervisory skills.
  • Supporting the local community: Providing work experience opportunities helps to tackle the issues of barriers to employment, supporting the local community.
  • Gaining a fresh perspective: Hosting can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the organisation, which can help to drive innovation and growth.
  • Promoting a positive message: By offering work experience placements, an organisation sends a positive message about their values.
  • Promoting workforce diversity: Offering work experience placements can help promote workforce diversity and inclusion, providing opportunities for people from a range of backgrounds to gain valuable skills and experience.
  • Exploring new recruitment opportunities: Providing work experience placements can be a way to explore talent that the employer may not have considered otherwise, potentially leading to recruitment opportunities in the future.

Selection of trainees

We understand the importance of pairing people with placements that align with their interests and capabilities. Our dedicated ESP Programme Coordinator takes the time to carefully match each trainee with a suitable placement, based on their unique skills and aspirations.

Once a potential placement has been identified, we will provide the trainee with a detailed role description and arrange an informal interview with the placement provider's manager. This interview serves as an opportunity for both the individual and the provider to assess the suitability of the placement and get to know each other better.

If the placement is accepted by both parties, we work closely with the trainee and the provider to finalise details such as start dates, hours, and days. Our aim is to ensure that each trainee is placed in an environment where they can thrive and develop their skills, setting them up for success in their future careers.

Support offered

We provide our trainees with comprehensive training before they begin their role, helping them to be prepared to work in a professional environment. We also collect references and perform DBS checks if relevant to the role.

All our trainees are assigned a dedicated mentor who is responsible for providing guidance and support throughout the placement and providing a thorough induction. We provide training for these mentors, ensuring that they fully understand their role in the programme and can provide the best possible guidance and support.

Our ESP Programme Coordinator also plays a vital role in supporting the placement process. As the main point of contact for trainees and placement providers, the Coordinator is dedicated to ensuring that each placement runs smoothly and that all parties are satisfied with the experience. They remain in regular contact with both the trainee and the placement provider throughout the placement.

How to get involved

If you are interested in taking part in this programme, please contact the ESP Programme Coordinator using the contact details below, to discuss the opportunities you may be able to offer.

Our participant was enthusiastic and brought a lot of energy and ideas to the role. The whole experience was of great benefit to our clients and staff.”

- Placement provider

Contact Us

01273 645435


Matilda Van Orden - ESP Programme Coordinator
144 London Road, Brighton. BN1 4PH


Struggling to find employment despite incredible effort can have a big impact on someone’s health and wellbeing. This was the case with Scotty, who found it difficult to identify a clear path into work after being failed by multiple services. This, coupled with the difficulty of managing a chronic illness, made Scotty feel hopeless. However, after working with BHT Sussex’s Intern Programme, who supported Scotty and his specific needs, Scotty found a way through. This is his story. Feeling hopeless “My life was pretty bleak for many years, and I did not see much of a future ahead of me. … Read more


After going through the difficult journey of recovering from addiction and sleeping rough, being in secure employment can offer purpose to someone’s life. This is the story of Ross, who turned their life around with the help of our Intern Programme, and our Housing Services. “On 31st October 2014, I went into Mill View Hospital Promenade Ward for an alcohol and diazepam detox. Up until my hospital admission, I was street homeless, rough sleeping and begging for change on the streets of Brighton, Hove and Sussex. I was just over 8 stone in weight and had lost most of my … Read more


For most of us we get our identity and status from what we do. BHT Sussex’s Intern Programme was set up to prepare people with a history of homelessness, mental ill health or addictions to make that transition from unemployment into work.

Charlie is a 32 year old white British male. He was born with congenital hand deformities, as well as structural defects which cause lifelong incontinence issues. Charlie was bullied during his school years and began using alcohol and cannabis aged 14. In his early 20’s he found employment as a telesales advisor and an early year’s child practitioner. However, each job didn’t last more than 12 months due to his increasing substance misuse.

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