We had a fantastic Ex-Forces day at Suited for Success on Tuesday 19th February supporting a group of unemployed ex-service men to successfully move into employment.
On the very busy day we were joined by Clements and Church stylists who volunteered with us for the day dressing and styling the ex-servicemen and a team of hair stylists led by Benjamin from award winning Benjamin Ryan Hair doing beard trims and haircuts. We were also joined by a team of staff volunteers from the National Grid and a local businessman doing one-to-one interview coaching, CV and employment advice.
Ex-military charities The Poppy Factory and The Forces Employment Charity were also on hand to offer employment support and advice.
The ex-service men were referred through a variety of ex-military charities and frontline agencies including the Royal British Legion, The Poppy Factory and the RFEA (The Forces Employment Charity) also job centres across Birmingham and the West Midlands. Information about the Suited for Success Ex-Forces day was circulated by various local ex-military organisations and community networks.
A team from the West Midlands Police Veterans Peer Support Network also popped in to see the day in action with a view to refer ex-service men and women they are supporting to future Ex-Forces days.
A styling day with Clements and Church
Luxury bespoke tailors Clements and Church recently made an 'incredible' generous donation of beautifully tailored suits, shirts, shoes and accessories to Suited for Success. As part of the donation a styling team was organised to volunteer with us on our Ex-Forces day . See pictures from the Clements and Church donation day
Talking about the styling day, Clements and Church Creative director Anna Moore said: "We are thrilled to be working with Birmingham based charity Suited for Success,recycling and re-purposing our tailoring and accessories to help men to dress for forthcoming interviews, and on the path to employment.
"Our Clements and Church Tailors assisted and advised a group of unemployed ex-military clients on how to wear our suits, as well as teach-ins on ties and accessories. By the end of the day there was a great sense of achievement in the room. You could visibly see the increased confidence on the men’s faces as they saw themselves in the mirror."
On the day tailors Aaron Foster and Michael Harris dressed 8 veterans in interview appropriate wear, styling classic charcoal or navy suits with white, blue and pink shirts, brogues or oxford shoes and coordinating ties and socks to finish the looks.
Matt, who served in the army for 26 years - loved his new look – he was dressed in a French navy single-breasted suit with white shirt and a silk purple and blue spot tie. He said; "it makes me feel amazing, the fabric and the colour is perfect."
Benjamin Ryan Hair set up a mini salon at Suited for Success and were busy all morning trimming beards and cutting hair. Tom who served in the air force said: "It was best haircut he had ever had. I have spent most of my years with a buzzcut."
Our commitment to support those who have served
The Ex-Forces days at Suited for Success is a strand of our work to support unemployed ex-military men and women into employment, working together with ex-military charities and organisations across the West Midlands and our commitment to being part of the Armed Forces Covenant.
The days and events are additional to our general one-to-one appointments working with unemployed men and women from all backgrounds, also creating a platform to offer CSR skilled employee volunteering opportunities with our business partners and supporters.
"Our clients and ex-military charity partners who attended the day were absolutely bowled over by the generosity and kind volunteering support from both Clements and Church and Benjamin Ryan Hair", said Suited for Success Chief Exec Patricia White.
"It was such a treat for our ex-military clients to be dressed and styled by the teams alongside the interview coaching sessions and employment advice with National Grid staff volunteers and business professionals. The day helped to prepare our to make that crucial first impression count in their next job interview.
Our mission in action
"Our mission at Suited for Success is to create a platform that brings together the business and charity sectors to work together and impact unemployment. The day really was our mission in action. It was also such a pleasure and an honour to support and serve those that have served our country. An incredible day!!!"