This week’s Charity Tuesday post is brought to you by Smart Works. An inspiring charity supporting women across Greater Manchester to get back into employment. They provide high quality interview clothing to women who may have been out of the job market for sometime and need that extra help. I think its such a brilliant concept, I’ll leave you with Fiona Gunnion, manager for Greater Manchester to explain more.
What lead to the creation of Smart Works?
Smart Works as a concept originated in London – that’s where our Head Office is. Our co-founding chair, Lady Hughes-Hallett knew that the road back into employment is a difficult and lonely one, especially if you’ve been unemployed for a long time and lack the confidence you require to give a great interview. Which is why, she decided to start Smart Works – to equip women with the confidence and skills they need to secure a job and ultimately, their future. Our Manchester chair, Louise Parrott Bates then brought the concept to Greater Manchester as she realised there was a need for this service in the North West. We now have Smart Works branches in London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Reading and Birmingham and are looking to open more across the country, so we can support as many women as we can.
Please tell us more about your work and how you support Manchester mums?
Smart Works offer high quality interview clothing in a personal styling session and one on one interview coaching with a HR professional or senior manager. Our service is completely free of charge and we aim to give women confidence and the practical tools to achieve employment. The women who use our service are from all walks of life, which includes mothers who have been caring for children and are now needing to gain employment. Of the women we have seen, 54% have been unemployed for over a year, yet hold the skills to gain employment. The confidence boost and knowledge we provide at Smart Works gives our clients the support they need opening the door into employment.
Smart Works Greater Manchester has seen over 660 women since opening in June 2015. We have a fantastic success rate in Manchester, 69% of the women we support go on to achieve employment.The best part is, when they get the job they applied for or any other job in six months, the ladies can come back to us for 5 more pieces, entirely free of charge, that they can mix and match and create a little capsule wardrobe with, to keep them going until their first pay check!
How can people support your work?
Smart Works Greater Manchester would very much appreciate any support you can offer, whether that be in a volunteering capacity of a Stylist or interview coach. We also hold fundraising events through the year, and are always on the lookout for people who can help us with events, fundraising, grant-writing and the like. People can also help by making a monetary donation or by donating interview clothing that is in good condition.
We have set our heights high for 2017 aiming to see over 500 women over the year, hoping to get more women into employment across Greater Manchester. If you feel you could support us on this mission please get in touch with Lead Manager, Fiona on: firstname.lastname@example.org.