u-turn 25 birthday

U-Turn Peer Worker Internship


U-turn is a thriving non-profit that exist to give homeless people the skills to overcome homelessness. Founded in 1997, we believe in life after homelessness. We believe that every homeless individual should have access to an effective pathway that addresses their physical, spiritual and emotional needs so they can leave the streets and become a long-term productive member of society.
To help homeless people overcome homelessness we operate a phased approach that includes rehabilitation from substance abuse, counselling, life-skills training and work placement in one of our social enterprises. This allows candidates to test and apply the training they’ve received. In the process, the programme inculcates a healthy work ethic, furnish modern job skills and give 18-24 months of real work experience so that individuals can graduate and be gainfully employed in the modern South African economy.
The programme is yielding wonderful results. Our candidates typically graduate into open market employment and show an 80% long term success rate! We are actively working to expand the programme to more locations in Cape Town and across South Africa.

Service Centres

U-turns Service Centres provide services to people living on the streets, to prepare them for and to support them on a journey of change. This includes providing food and clothing, therapeutic and development based interventions, and providing recovery support for those struggling with substance abuse. The ultimate aim of the Service Centre is to prepare individuals to participate in our work-based rehabilitation programme.

Work-readiness program

The work-readiness department forms part of the Life Change Journey and is tasked with providing work-based rehabilitation and skills development training that prepares clients for graduation into the open labour marker and reintegration into community. One day a week, each client attends a training day where they access group therapy, counselling, and input using a specially designed curriculum. This cycle of learning and then application follows a graded approach and continues for as long as needed. It takes an average of 18 months. Case-managers coordinate the entire intervention programme for the clients and work in close-collaboration with the worksite managers.

The position

Peer Workers’ strength and speciality in scope is that they have had a lived experience of homelessness and/or being in recovery and have completed the earlier phases of the U-turn Life Chang Journey. They form part of the Interdisciplinary teams based at Service Centres, coming alongside clients
The structure of the internship is that it is available to Champions on the integration phase of their WR program and will be for a year with quarterly reviews regarding KAR’s and developmental goals. Support offered will include:

  • Induction and Orientation Training,
  • monthly topical workshops along with other staff
  •  More in-depth workshops as and when they arise
  •  Self-study modules on relevant topics for the position
  •  Debrief groups with an external counsellor

Key areas of responsibility

  • Outreach to homeless individuals on the street, encouraging them that change is possible.
  • Form supportive and accountable relationships with homeless individuals, referring them to relevant services within U-turn.
  • Discuss cases with the Social Worker/Occupational Therapist and get input regarding relevant referrals.
  • Attend Interdisciplinary meetings and give input regarding cases
  • Accompany clients on relevant referrals and assist with accessing the necessary support services.
  • Assist with service delivery at the service centre, purposefully engaging those on the earlier phases of the journey.
  • Complete base-line assessment with new clients.
  • Complete relevant data capturing and reports
  •  Use and contribute to existing planning and record keeping systems to ensure continuous improvement of your areas of responsibility.

Experience and Personal attributes

  •  Experience of Homelessness and or recovery
  • Experience of having come through the U-Turn program
  • Willingness to learn and grow personally
  •  Interest in worker with individuals

Organisational Fit (where applicable)

  • If in Recovery – actively engaged in own ongoing recovery, accessing accountability support and practicing recovery behaviour
  • If employed as a Professional – affiliation with professional board, continued personal development and accessing supervision
  •  Gospel orientation – connected to a local fellowship of believers, reading the Bible and grounded in Gospel-motivated Social Action

Next Steps

Candidates interested in this position must submit a letter of motivation and CV to recruitment@homeless.org.za. The letter of motivation should be approximately 1 page in length and include information on why you would like to work at U-turn and how you fulfill the required knowledge skills set outlined above. Please note that applications without a letter of motivation will not be considered.