“I want to put back what I have been given by the Centre” says Nsa, who was supported into work by the Centre and now has a growing career in the construction industry.
Nsa attends our monthly In-Work Club, which supports those who we have helped into employment with any challenges they may be facing in the workplace. He says: “I like to come and contribute and help other people and share my knowledge with them.”
The In-Work Club Club offers this kind of peer support as well as expertise advice from employment officers Ben and Jeanita. Ben (pictured) explains:
“Whilst employment is the surest way out of poverty, it often comes with its own challenges. When we help people into work they are naturally excited and elated but often the transition from unemployment to working can be a hard one. For those that have been unemployed for a long time or young people who have not worked before, entering the job market can be difficult.”
The In-Work Club is here to support help people through this time. The sessions normally involve an informal discussion where people have the opportunity to talk about their work, what they are enjoying and any challenges they might be facing. This is combined with more formal training on things like office politics, email etiquette and how to ‘manage you manager’.
This level of support can be invaluable for people like Hwaida, a single mum, who has recently secured work as a care assistant.
“I learn a lot here and we all share our experiences,” says Hwaida. “There are many benefits for me, it helps build my confidence and we learn from each other. There is a good energy here at the In-Work Club and it lifts us up. The support Ben and Jeanita give to me helps my confidence.”
The service is proving popular and it’s fantastic to see how much it means to the people who attend. Ben says:
“It is amazing to see a group of people coming together. All working in different sectors with different experiences but all wanting to share and support one another.”
Tessa, 23, had to move into a hostel in 2014 and the strain caused her to give up work. She was recently supported by the Employment Team into a role as a project support assistant with the New West End Company. Tessa says:
“I’m very happy and really enjoy my job, but I like hearing from other people about how the Centre has helped them in different ways. Also I can get advice on how to make the transition from benefits to paid work.”
Ben explains how this transition can be confusing and challenging for people:
“The benefits system is incredibly complicated. When someone who was on Job Seekers Allowance finds work they let the Job Centre know straight away, but when people’s benefits are cut before their first pay check arrives it can be worrying and stressful. We support and advise them to make sure they know of their rights and what financial support they are entitled to, this helps their transition into work.”
The In-Work Club is also there to support people when they want to take the next step in their careers. Tom has been working in administration at a hospital since early 2014, he says:
“The Centre has been a starting point for me. When I come to the In-Work Club I can think about how I can move forward, update my CV and look for my next job.”
Ben says: “Getting a job is just the beginning, we want to see people progress and to have careers, people know that the team are here every step of the way to help them succeed and to fulfil their potential”