Train for Trades has been working towards sustainability for some time. The various independent projects they have taken on are key to moving towards self-sufficiency. The ultimate goal for sustainability in a social enterprise is to become 100% self-funding. That is, no government grants, donations or corporate funding would be required to operate the program.

In terms of evaluation, sustainability means looking to see how the program can grow and expand to increase its revenue streams. Additionally, examining the program to see what cuts can be made while still maintaining the success of the program is also important.

Sometimes, ongoing funding from government funders can make up a component of the budget. For example, Train for Trades provides Personal Protective Equipment and tools to youth. Some social assistance and job-seekers programs provide funding for start-up costs, which would be a way of defraying the overall costs.

Keep in mind that complete self-sufficiency is unlikely to happen immediately. Train for Trades received government and corporate funding that has enabled it to operate. While grants can make a program sustainable in the short-term, the unstable nature of funding means that depending upon them is risky.

Certainly this risk has been seen at Train for Trades. The lessons learned, and the progress towards sustainability, have prompted a recent shift in the program to address funding challenges that exist within the organization. These will be discussed in the Changes to T4T for 2015-2016 section.