On 7th September a group of 13 unemployed men and women from Birmingham supported by YMCA Wolverhampton spent the day at Suited for Success preparing to get into work. We were also joined by a team of 5 staff from Sanctuary Housing volunteering with us for the day.
The day started with a theory workshop led by the YMCA employment team exploring the barriers to employment. The men and women, many of whom are in temporary accommodation and have experienced some life challenges, engaged in small group discussions talking about their personal journeys and aspirations to now turn their lives around and gain employment. Suited for Success manager Patricia White then did a session on making a crucial first impression at their job interview.
After the theory workshop the men and women were then dressed and styled in smart interview outfits by the team of Sanctuary Housing volunteers preparing the group for their up and coming job interviews. There were cheers and plenty of compliments as each person came out of the changing rooms transformed. Each person left with practical help and advice to get into employment, a FREE interview outfit and full of hope and aspirations to get back on their feet and into employment.
More than just a suit
Feeding back after the workshop the YMCA employment support workers commented on how valuable the day was for each of their clients
Imran Ali, YMCA Employment Engagement Officer said: "We were amazed at the dedication of the Suited For Success volunteer team as well as Patricia’s commitment and energy. Every one of the clients felt absolutely valued and we couldn’t believe their transformations! Suddenly we were faced by a fleet of bank managers, directors, social care workers, teachers and other professionals.
Nobody can put a price on the look of people’s faces when they first take a look in the full length mirror. Thank you so much to everybody at Suited For Success for showing us what is possible.”
Wayne Jones, Senior Recovery Employment & Training Navigator South Birmingham also said: “ I was amazed at how a simple outfit can change a person’s attitude and confidence towards life. It was a very emotional day for me and I am so grateful for all the hard work and time that Patricia and the Sanctuary Housing team put into each client and made them feel worthwhile.
Seeing each client’s face change when they walked out of the changing room, was priceless and I wish I could have bottled up the atmosphere, as this would be some that definitely needs sharing."
Don’t judge a book by its cover
Tadesse, Senior Employment and Training Navigator added: “One of our clients said the day was one they will remember for many years to come. Some service users are not always wanting to be dependent on someone but the situation(they are in) force them to do so.
"We (humans) are always quick to judge people the way they look (appearance), colour, social status etc. Imagine, the clients before the outfit and then after……a little help can transform someone’s life forever through bringing the confidence, self-belief, passion and valuing him/herself.
"This is what we have seen on the day. I thank Imran and Patricia and volunteers who make the day so beautiful and opening a new chapter in the life of clients.“
We're really looking forward to the next workshop day with YMCA Wolverhampton.
See a snapshot of pictures from the day.... (Click on any image to open the gallery)