Smart Works is a UK charity that provides high quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to out-of-work women on low incomes. We help women to feel confident, look fabulous, succeed at their job interview and move on with their life. This works. Over one in two of the women we help goes on to the job. Women come to us at a crucial time in their journey back to employment. They have to a confirmed job interview, but have not been successful in securing employment. * 46% are lone parents * 48% have applied for 50 + jobs * 43% have been unemployed for two years + In the two hours they spend with us, we give each women a complete outfit of clothes and accessories (theirs to keep), styling advice and interview training. The dressing and training is done by members of our team of over 75 volunteers with backgrounds in HR, senior management, retail and styling. These volunteers are at the heart of Smart Works, and are responsible for all our service delivery.
For the women who come to Smart Works, it is a transformational experience. We give them the confidence and self-belief they need to go on and get the job. “You have brought real change to me, not just the clothes but the feeling of being worthy.” The majority of our clothes are donated by other working women at suit drives and clothing collections held within corporate organisations, and we are delighted that The PageGroup is a vital partner of ours in this area. We also have some beautiful new clothing donated by our retail supporters, which include Hobbs, Whistles, The Outnet and Evans. We have a long track record of success.
We started dressing women in 2000 from one location in North London. In 2014 we dressed 1500 women drawn from across every single Borough in London. 59% got the job. Over the last five years we have dressed and trained a total of 5874 women and helped them back into work. We are now taking Smart Works across the UK. We opened in Edinburgh in 2014, Manchester in June 2015 and Reading in October 2015. We are looking to open offices in another two major UK cities during 2016. Mission statement Our mission is to help women back into the workplace by giving them the clothes and the confidence they need to succeed at interview. To do this, we will build London as our centre of excellence and share this expertise by taking Smart Works to at least 5 locations across the UK. Within five years, we want to dress and train 10 000 women for interview every year. Case study Letitia is 23 years old and visited Smart Works in April 2015 having applied for over 30 jobs unsuccessfully in the previous 6 months. “Being unemployed for a long time and being unsuccessful in so many applications had really impacted negatively on my sense of self worth and confidence.
I didn’t really believe in myself at interview which I am sure showed, and I know I wasn’t instilling confidence in the people interviewing me.” “Coming to Smart Works gave me a real confidence boost, it was a fantastic experience. The Interview session was priceless as it gave me so many good tips on how to answer tricky interview questions. I really appreciated being able to go through my CV and I learnt how to speak about my skills and experience positively. I definitely left with a smile, and to top it all off I survived a very hard three hour interview and got the job!” Following her appointment, Letitia succeeded at her interview and is now working as a recruitment administrator at Google.
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