This research project reveals participant perceptions of an employment enhancement programme, run by a social enterprise and designed to reintegrate socially excluded individuals into society. The research participants were the social entrepreneur, staff at the social enterprise, the programme attendees and a representative from an external referral agency. Participants engaged in semi-structured interviews with a researcher designed to elicit participant perceptions of the programme. Results of the analysis of the interviews revealed six emergent themes that were interpreted by the researchers as: ‘social mission focus’, ‘heroic social entrepreneur’, ‘social impact’, ‘recidivism’, ‘the programme’ and ‘programme attendees’. Results of the analysis reveal that all research participants reported the programme helped to re-socialise the programme attendees and increased their self-confidence and self-esteem. Participants also believed programme attendees acquired important skills and qualifications in general warehouse activities and forklift truck driving, which would greatly increase their future employability. Programme attendees indicated the ‘real world’ working environment was important to their feelings of success on the programme. Social enterprise staff expressed concerns about potential ‘mission drift’ resulting from the demands of scaling up the logistics business to achieve the ‘double bottom line’.
- Social enterprise