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Ricki’s GROW Traineeship

A GROW Traineeship provides people with ‘lived experience’ the opportunity to develop a broad range of skills and experience whilst in a paid role. 

In this blog we hear from Ricki, who has now successfully completed his Traineeship. Ricki’s account of his experience is brilliant to read and gives a real insight into the role itself.

Meet Ricki!

Ricki began his Traineeship back in August 2019. He attended our Change to GROW recruitment event which gave him the opportunity to share his experience and passion for recovery and supporting others. 

“I came to CLI whilst living in a dry house in Rushden. I’d completed my treatment at a rehab and have been on my own journey of recovery since August 2018. I originally contacted CLI to enquire about volunteering, and to my surprise I was encouraged to attend the GROW recruitment day.”

“Being a GROW trainee involved me having a caseload of up to 10 people that I mentored and advocated for.

I undertook many other duties within my role to help share the load within the office too, helping with audits and contributing towards the end of month reports for commissioners.”

The GROW role has given me the chance to prove to myself that I have a lot to offer a company or organisation, and considering my criminal background due to my addiction problems, I may have normally found it very difficult to find professional employment.
I feel the most important thing I have achieved through CLI is a better sense of self-identity, and purpose in my own life today.


Above, Ricki speaking about his experience of Homelessness and Addiction at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s event ‘Locked Out’. 

“I feel I have gained many skills through my past year at CLI…”

… especially within an office environment, I have developed on my computer and I.T skills.

I have learned to become part of a professional team and organisation, and most of all I have learnt that I have so much to offer other people that are battling, and trying to overcome addiction and a hopeless state of mind. 

I can encourage, motivate and inspire others with my own journey.”

Top right, Ricki supporting his mentee throughout Lockdown with ‘cooking together’ Facetimes to encourage healthy, and home cooked meals. 


COVID-19 has impacted economies, individuals and families across the world. With CLI’s GROW Traineeship being a 12 month contract, sadly Ricki’s last 6 months with us have been spent in Lock-down rather than as a team and in the community.

However, that is not to say he hasn’t made the most of it by continuing to carry out 1-1 support, facilitate groups and prepare for the next step in his career. 

“I have faced many challenges over the last year and the COVID lockdown has been the most obvious one for me personally.

I have had my own personal struggles whilst trying to also support others, but my team at CLI has been a real rock of support in these difficult times and I feel truly grateful for that support and guidance.

Another prominent struggle I have faced is watching people really struggle at times within their own personal journeys of recovery and supporting people through these up’s and downs has caused me many evenings of reflection and feelings of helplessness at times.

The people I have helped to support as their mentor and groups facilitator will never understand just how much they have helped me to discover who I am today, and how they have actually help mentor me in so many ways.”

What’s next for Ricki?

Saying goodbye to our GROW’s when they complete their Traineeship is always a bittersweet moment for us. We are so pleased to have supported Ricki into further employment. It really shows the success of this scheme. 

“I will be moving on from CLI into a senior role within supported living for adults with mental health issues situated in Northampton. I am moving into this position confident that I have so much to offer people within the health & social sector, and I am overwhelmingly aware that they also have so much to offer me and my own personal journey of recovery in return. CLI will always be my first experience of a professional work environment, and for that I feel truly grateful.”

CLI wish Ricki all the best for the future and in his new role, it’s been an absolute pleasure to have him as part of the team and watch him succeed. Thank you for all your hard-work Ricki, this is EXACTLY why we’re so passionate about our GROW Traineeships Getting real opportunities of work. 

Hear more about Ricki’s experience below…

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