When Caroline visited Smart Works she had been unemployed for over five years after being a full-time carer for her son, who has autism. As a single mum, she was keen to get back into the workplace to support her family. But she suffered from depression, anxiety and a lack of confidence.
Smart Works gifted Caroline a high-quality interview outfit, styled for her and hers to keep, and one-on-one interview coaching.
I wore a really beautiful fitted jacket, some lovely trousers, a nice shirt and I felt like a million dollars.
“The interview techniques I received were great. I hadn’t had an interview for so long, I didn’t know what I was supposed to say.”
Caroline got the job. She was then welcomed back to Smart Works to receive five additional pieces of clothing. She could start her new role with a capsule wardrobe that would see her through to her first pay cheque.
Offering a volunteer-run service that uses donations of quality clothing, this UK charity receives referrals from job centres, work programmes, prisons, care homes, homeless shelters and mental health charities. Half of their clients have been turned down from 20 applications. A third have been turned down from over 50 jobs.
By harnessing the power of clothes and confidence to transform lives, Smart Works has a demonstrable impact: over 17,000 women have benefitted from the service across the UK so far, with 65% of clients gaining employment within one month of their appointment.
In March 2020, Smart Works launched a virtual service. Clients are offered online or phone coaching along with a parcel of beautiful workwear delivered safely to the client’s door. Nearly 500 parcels have been delivered to date. Having resumed a face to face service in autumn, clients are now offered the choice of either a virtual or in-person Smart Works experience.
Bicester Village is partnered with Smart Works as part of The Bicester Village Shopping Collection DO GOOD network of charitable organisations, all of which work to empower women and children. Read more here
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