As the manager of the new Smart Works centre in West London, it is my job, and my privilege, to bring our amazing Smart Works service to more women who need our help to succeed at interview and get their lives back on track. Over the last year, I am proud to say that I have increased the number of appointments we’ve delivered by 41%, from 545 to 770, recruited and managed over 30 volunteers to deliver our service, who have together clocked up over 2000 hours of service. Most importantly, over one in two, 59%, of the women who came to see us in West London went on to succeed at their job interview.
A visit to Smart Works takes just two hours, and during that time each woman receives a high-quality outfit, theirs to keep, and one to one coaching tailored to that upcoming interview. Many of the women that walk through our doors have been unemployed for years. We see single mothers with no support, women with physical and mental disabilities and ex-prisoners. They frequently arrive nervous and feel daunted by the prospect of interview however they always leave confident, charged and lifted by the support they receive. At Smart Works we believe every woman has many wonderful talents they can offer the world, what they lack is confidence. My role is to assist them in unlocking their confidence so that they can showcase their skills and shine in their interview.
I have made it my mission to reach out to as many women as possible and welcome them through the Smart Works doors. This meant rapidly building relationships with people who could refer, the Job Centres, Work Programme providers and other charities working to support women back into employment. It has also meant building a skilled and reliable network of volunteers who could deliver an impeccable service to the women we see. It also meant building a support network in the local community and spreading the word.
It has been a fantastic year for me and for Smart Works in West London and I am looking forward to building on this in the year ahead.