Seeing yourself differently…

Many of the people we work with at Providence Row are desperate to find a job and be financially independent. It means they can live the life they want to, feel they are contributing something to society and for some it enables them to provide for their families. Many have a strong work ethic but feel the odds are stacked against them.

It’s a competitive job market nowadays and many of our clients face a range of challenges but one of the biggest is confidence. Unemployment can start to erode confidence in a very short space of time and some of our clients haven’t worked for several months or years.

Having been in the job market myself recently, I know the pressure of having to sell yourself and stand out, of having to frame ‘what you do’ in employment speak and having to promote your achievements. And this is what I now help our clients to do - to stand back and see themselves differently. To see beyond their current situation and see that their previous experience counts, to see that they have skills and talents that they can sell and to see that they have achieved things in their life.

Over the past six months, I’ve helped more than 20 clients write CVs showcasing a range of skills including catering, landscape gardening and engineering. I’ve helped clients improve their confidence in searching and applying for jobs and worked with clients to prepare for interviews, thinking about what questions they might get asked, and practicing the answers. And this support has yielded results.

After helping her to prepare her first ever CV and practising interview skills, one of our former catering trainees Meseret was delighted to secure a cleaning job.

Another trainee, Gavin, recently made the transition from a previous career in catering to work within the health sector supporting homeless people in hospital. I worked with Gavin to identify some of the transferable skills and personal experience he had and helped him to apply for the job.

Linas wanted to create a CV but thought he had no experience.  When I spent time chatting to him about this, it turned out he had a wealth of experience in his native country which he had discounted as irrelevant for job searches in this country. I helped him to turn this into a CV which he is now using to apply for jobs.

Many clients are daunted by having to apply for jobs online but for clients like Mounir and Zouhair, providing support to use Universal Jobmatch* has seen increased confidence and independence in job searching.

Other clients are still some way from entering the job market but our Learning Programme and Catering Trainee Scheme provide opportunities for clients to build up skills, experience and most importantly confidence.  Our Learning Programme provides the opportunity to work as part of a team in our urban garden, to improve English language skills or to develop confidence in using IT.  Through the Catering Trainee Scheme clients have the opportunity to gain a health and hygiene certificate, a block of experience working in a kitchen and the chance to develop a range of competencies including teamwork and communication.

It’s satisfying and encouraging to help clients to see themselves differently, to see them walk that little bit taller when they reflect on the skills and experience they have and to see them blossom when they get that job.


*Universal Jobmatch is a free online service which matches companies and potential employees. It is run by the Department of Work and Pensions.