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'Employability Partners' is the place to hear about exciting work and success stories from organisations in the sector and to learn new ideas and innovations you can apply in your own workplace.

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 17 November 2017

30 vacancies in 30 days – helping Essex youngsters into work

Career opportunities to learn and earn are on offer to school and college leavers in Essex, with 30 apprenticeships being advertised throughout November.

The 30 vacancies in 30 days include work in digital marketing, IT, business administration, sales and customer service. They are offered by employers across the county including Basildon, Billericay, Braintree, Colchester, Southend, Thurrock and Romford.

National employment and skills specialist Seetec is promoting the opportunities for young people to gain the qualifications, skills and experience to help them progress in the workplace.

Seetec’s Head of Apprenticeship Operations, Nikki Bardsley, explained: “Apprenticeships are a great way to start a career as they offer the flexibility of studying towards a professional qualification while earning a salary.

“They’re also an ideal opportunity for employers to develop the talent they need to bridge their skills gaps and equip their business for future growth. Seetec’s Group Managing Director, John Baumback, started with the company 30 years ago as an apprentice, so we practise what we preach.”

Southend United recently decided to increase its marketing, and turned to Seetec to recruit talented 18-year-old Callum Bishop as a Digital Marketing Apprentice. Head of Commercial, Rhys Ellingham, explained: “Following the interview stages Callum was the perfect candidate for the role, giving himself the opportunity to further enhance his digital skills whilst also helping the commercial department move forward and increase revenue with his social media, website and video input.”

Seetec also offers ‘Enhanced Apprenticeships’ which provide additional support to young people who lack the experience or confidence to secure employment. With dedicated tutor and advisor support, young people gain a qualification, CV and interview preparation skills, and a short period of work experience to help them achieve a full apprenticeship or employment.

Bradley Scott, 17, from Chadwell St Mary, progressed from an Enhanced Apprenticeship working for Seetec to securing a one-year apprenticeship in a Southend-based school. He said: “The digital media in business course I completed with Seetec improved my social media skills and built my confidence, while helping me to progress towards a career in marketing.

“I feel that having this extra knowledge helped me secure my IT apprenticeship with Milton Hall School in Westcliff.

“I’m really enjoying the placement so far and have been assisting the media department with some marketing projects – something I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if I had gone to college.” 

“I would recommend an apprenticeship to anyone who would rather do the job and gain experience in the workplace, while gaining some qualifications along the way.”

Kirsty Pascoe, HR and Learning and Development generalist, from Romford-based medical recruitment company Total Assist, has already taken on more than a dozen apprentices through Seetec, with a number having progressed to full-time employment with the company.

Kirsty explained: “We find it so rewarding to recruit apprentices into what is often their first full-time job. They work so hard and have a lot of enthusiasm, and they grow with the company to become absolutely invaluable.  

“One of our apprentices came to us at 18 and is now training with us to become a recruitment consultant, another helped out in payroll and was so good that we are now supporting her to study on a Level 3 AAT accounting course and she has secured a permanent position.”

Young people interested in apprenticeship opportunities should contact Seetec on 01702 208270 or see: seetec.co.uk/apprenticeships, #3030inEssex.

 

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Corporate Affiliate Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 10 November 2017

SETAS Join the IEP as Corporate Affiliate Partners

The IEP are pleased to welcome SETAS (Specialist Employment, Training and Advice Services) as the latest organisation to join our Corporate Affiliate Partner Programme.

SETAS was established in February 2017 to deliver employment, skills and health and wellbeing services in London and the South East. An NCFE accredited centre, since July they have worked with Kennedy Scott to deliver the DWP/ESF contract in Surrey and Sussex, working with unemployed customers and supporting them in to sustainable work.

Richard Brooks FIEP (Director and Owner of SETAS) said “I am delighted that SETAS is to become an IEP Corporate Affiliate. We are a new provider, but I am personally very passionate about the quality of services we provide to our service users. There is no better way of ensuring high quality contracts than recruiting and developing the best people to deliver on our behalf. The IEP is central to this and I hope both myself and all SETAS employees can offer value alongside other providers in this endeavour.”

IEP Chairman, Scott Parkin FIEP said “SETAS has an ethos of promoting on-going development and support to their staff; enabling them to continually improve the impact of what they do, remain up-to-date with industry changes, always delivering person-centred services, with integrity and respect.  This is absolutely in keeping with the IEP’s raison d’être and we are thrilled to have them on board to advocate the importance of this approach.”

SETAS offer a portfolio of flexible accredited qualifications which are ideal for people seeking to improve their skills in work, but also for people on pre-employment programmes and volunteers too.

These qualifications are fully-funded, which means there is no cost to the learners or employers in carrying them out. All of the courses are NCFE accredited to level 2 certificate (equivalent GCSE A*-C) and are designed to improve awareness, knowledge and build confidence, not only in the subject area but also for learning in general.

Details of the following courses are available on the IEP’s Knowledge Bank, click on the headings below:

Awareness of Mental Health Problems

Business Administration Knowledge

Common Health Conditions

Information, Advice or Guidance

Principles of Team Leading

Understanding Autism

Understanding the Care and Management of Diabetes

Understanding Nutrition and Health

Working with Individuals with Learning Disabilities

Mental Health Needs

Understanding Behaviour that Challenges

To find out more about any of the above qualifications contact info@setas.org.uk

 

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IEP Member Discount Exclusive!

Posted By Maria Cerezo FIEP, Remploy, 05 November 2017

IEP Member Discount Exclusive!

Remploy’s Disability Consultant team are pleased to offer a fabulous 10% discount on a range of their courses to all individual IEP members and all those organisations that are committed as IEP Corporate Affiliates Partners. All courses are designed to increase awareness of disabilities and mental health issues and increase the confidence and skills you will need to support people with such challenges into work.

The courses are as follows:

Mental Health First Aid - 2 Day programme

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course, designed to teach people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.

Non IEP Member price - (2 options) - Up to 12 delegates - £2,250 or Up to 16 delegates £2,450

Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace Workshop

This Workshop provides delegates with the opportunity to discuss current mental wellbeing challenges in their workplace and to share experiences and good practice. Through a range of interactive exercises, delegates develop the confidence and acquire the strategies and tools to approach, support and manage mental wellbeing in the workplace.

Can be delivered as a half day (4 hour introductory/refresher course) or a full day workshop

Non IEP Member price - Half day - £600 or Full Day - £1,100

Disability & Health Workshop

This Workshop takes delegates through a journey of disability awareness. It takes a holistic view on disability and what this means for the organisation and provides delegates with the skills, knowledge and confidence to be proactive with disability issues in the workplace and support their colleagues.

Can be delivered as a half day (4 hour introductory/refresher course) or a full day workshop Non IEP Member price - Half day - £600 or Full Day - £1,100

Training in Systematic Instruction Programme

Training in Systematic Instruction offers structured one-to-one support to prepare an individual with learning disabilities to acquire the skills they need for the job. Activities are generally task-based and in a real environment. This allows individuals to effectively learn procedures associated with employment including job-related routines and accommodations to the workplace culture.

2 Day programme

Non IEP Member price - £3,500

Resilience Course

This half day workshop provides a safe and open environment to discuss personal resilience. We explore different factors influencing resilience and ask delegates to reflect on how these affect them individually. We also consider the relationship between stress, wellbeing and performance, as well as the drivers for resilience and the attributes of a resilient person.

Half day workshop Non IEP Member price - £640 Note - All courses prices are excluding VAT

In addition to the above, Remploy also offer:

Consultancy on their journey to become Disability Confident (DWP levels scheme)

Disability Confidence online course

L3 Diploma in Employability Services Sector

 

For more information please contact maria.cerezo@remploy.co.uk

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Employability Partners

Posted By Seetec, 28 October 2017

Kelly’s springboard to sporting success

Leading Essex women’s cricketer Kelly Castle is on course for a successful sports industry career after boosting her skills and confidence during a dream apprenticeship at Essex Cricket.

Working at the County Ground as Essex exceeded expectations to land their first County Championship title for 25 years, Kelly, 20, had the exciting opportunity to promote women’s and girls’ cricket.

By helping to organise six-a-side softball Prosecco cricket competitions at clubs around the county, her role encouraged women to become more active and helped to develop her chosen sport.

Kelly, from Rochford, said: “I have always wanted a career working in sport, playing cricket since I was 13 inspired me. My apprenticeship through Seetec has given me a stepping stone. I learned a lot, especially about organisation, including fully organising the women’s softball cricket at my club, Rayleigh.

“Working at Essex Cricket has really broadened my knowledge about sports development.”

Kelly left the County Ground last month to start studying for a full-time BSc Sports Science degree at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, although she will continue to work for Essex Cricket during her holidays.

Her apprenticeship was organised through employment and skills specialist Seetec, whose Regional Skills Co-ordinator Emma Krijgsman said: “Kelly’s success demonstrates how Seetec can help young people to make a positive start on their career path, with apprenticeships offering an alternative route to skills development, qualifications and workplace progress.”

With England winning the Women’s Cricket World Cup this summer, and the national team rising to top the world rankings, it is an exciting time to be involved with the sport.

Kelly played a vital role batting for Essex Women this season, helping the team to win promotion back to Division 2 in the Women’s County Championship. She became the first Essex woman to score 2,000 runs and take 100 wickets for the county, and is expected to captain the side next season.

As well as developing her workplace skills, Kelly was able to spend three months in Australia over the winter playing club cricket in Melbourne. With Australia’s well-established women’s set-up, she had the chance to play against top players.

“It definitely helped me, my batting improved massively and I had the opportunity to play on different pitches and with women who play in the Big Bash Twenty20 league,” Kelly explained.

“My apprenticeship helped prepare me for my degree, rather than going straight from school to university. I’m interested in sports psychology but I’ve also gained experience which will help me to work in the sporting industry after university.”

Essex Cricket Head of Operations Dan Feist said: “Kelly really developed her skills of communication, planning and organisation and gained confidence from engaging with a wide range of people. She will continue to work for us during her university holidays to further develop women’s and girls’ cricket.

“Our apprentices bring fresh energy and new ideas for our target age group.”

Seetec has been supporting people into employment and improving skills for over 30 years. Young people interested in traineeship or apprenticeship opportunities should contact Seetec on 0845 33 06 573 or see https://www.seetec.co.uk/apprenticeships

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Pluss, 12 October 2017

Pluss Work and Health Programme Announcement

The Pluss Organisation CIC is delighted to have been awarded the Work and Health Programme contract for Southern England by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

This result will allow Pluss to support an even greater number of people with health conditions and disabilities into sustainable work.

Pluss has a proud heritage of supporting people with health and disability needs and has developed a new model called ‘Opportunities Unlimited’ that will deliver a truly personalised service for job seekers. The key principle to our solution is that with the right support, most people can find work and build a career. We want to ensure that no-one is left behind.

We expect that at least 85% of participants on the programme will have a health condition or disability. Pluss has therefore developed a locally integrated supply chain of specialist providers who will deliver innovative services to jobseekers across the entire Southern region.

The Southern Contract Package Area (CPA) covers the following Jobcentre Plus districts:

  • Devon, Cornwall and Somerset
  • Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Wiltshire and Dorset
  • Avon, Severn and Thames (excluding Milton Keynes and Aylesbury)
  • Berkshire, Surrey, Brighton and West Sussex

The needs of customers will be diverse and our delivery is designed to reach isolated coastal towns, dispersed rural communities and urban hubs.

Pluss will also continue to raise the profile of the DWP’s Disability Confident campaign to help employers fill vacancies through a diverse workforce.

Steve Hawkins, Chief Executive at Pluss, said“Pluss is proud that our health and disability expertise and performance has been recognised by the Department for Work and Pensions. We are delighted to have secured this contract which enables us to work with individuals, stakeholders and employers across the Southern region. We believe people of all abilities should be inspired to achieve a career and this has underpinned our vision for over 45 years.”

Pluss will begin delivery of the Work and Health Programme in January 2018. The contract will help over 35,000 people across the Southern CPA into sustainable employment over the next seven years.

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Corporate Affiliate Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 21 September 2017

JobSkilla Join IEP as Corporate Affiliate Partners

by Chris Hughes, CEO, JobSkilla

JobSkilla is an online, centralised booking system. Its aim is to advertise all the free and funded training and support available locally, to help unemployed people on their journey to sustainable employment. The system has been designed by people with over 12 years’ experience of working in the employment support, Youth and Training sectors. It has been built with a view of making it easier and more efficient to search, compare and book onto the provision that is most needed for the unemployed person and to ensure Advisers have more to offer customers.

JobSkilla launched officially in January 2017, concentrating services around the Greater Manchester area. Over the following few months they registered over 2000 users and booked them onto suitable provision, with the help of our ever growing advisory and training provider networks. JobSkilla is a cloud based system so we have been able to extend our services quickly to set up courses in many new locations from Carlisle to Southampton, depending on training needs of linked unemployed networks. Training courses are set up and tweaked with the customer base, the local labour market and current vacancies in mind, meaning that employer interviews are often part and parcel of courses and customers move into work quicker with the right training already completed.

We work with local employability programs to complement the work they already do and bring together multiple organisations to run training courses that will benefit the local employability market.

We believe firmly that our work together with the IEP will not only benefit unemployed people in this country but Employability Advisers nationwide, after all, we created JobSkilla for the benefit of Advisers as well as the unemployed job seekers. We were all Advisers once on multiple contracts and know first-hand the jubilation and often dismay that comes with challenges of the role. We want to ensure that there are options for accredited training, combined with some form of industry specific accreditation to remove as many barriers for the customer as possible.

JobSkilla works closely with local authorities and other employment professionals to answer challenges facing the industry, we recently created a bespoke provision specifically for ESOL customers in Greater Manchester and Yorkshire used by a number of Employment Support Providers including Interserve, Ingeus, and Seetec. All agreements were at a local level, yet we hope to gain approval throughout the country as the benefit to the local offices has been very clear and feedback is really positive.

In addition to the traditional employability organisations we also work with local job clubs that offer specialist provision for niche sections or areas of the community, we want a JobSkilla user to be empowered to access all the provision open to them in their local area. We have recently started working with Southampton FC’s foundation, helping them with their Premier League Works provision, specifically designed for NEETs.

We firmly believe that JobSkilla is the future of funded training, allowing an organisation to compare providers, who are rated by the users, to find the best fit for them.

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Employability Partners

Posted By Seetec, 13 September 2017

Pioneering London Women’s Health Group visits Bradford

Women who are leading an East London-based project to tackle the high risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke among their own south-Asian communities have visited Bradford to promote healthy living.

Twenty-three members of the Women’s Health Group, a project run by the Twist Partnership to empower women who are not first-language English speakers, met their counterparts from the Bradford-based BEAP Partnership. BEAP is helping disadvantaged communities in Bradford to focus on positive change.

Shankara Angadi, CEO of Twist, explained: “Our group is leading a pioneering project, which aims to help the NHS in engaging with ethnic minority communities, particularly those in which English is not the first language of communication. They believe they can significantly improve the quality of life of people in these communities.”

Type 2 diabetes is a growing health problem for the south Asian community, the likelihood of becoming diabetic is reported to be six times higher than for Europeans. This increased risk is partly genetic, but is also linked to lifestyle, including a high carbohydrate diet and lack of exercise.

Shankara said: “Our approach is based on empowerment. The project inspires and empowers women to manage the diet and lifestyles of their families by giving them the knowledge and resources to bring about improved health.

“When we show them that, not only can they take part, they can do something to improve the lives of others, this drives them to act and produces great energy. The women are excited about working for change from the inside, using their knowledge of their own communities, rather than being on the outside.”

Many of the London women were referred to Twist through a collaboration with employment and skills organisation Seetec, which is providing support to increase their employability and help them to find work.

Loreta Gruia, Operational Partnership Manager at Seetec, explained: “We help many women with poor English and little or no work experience. Through our partnership with Twist we see their sense of purpose and leadership grow, as well as their confidence and communication skills, which increases their employability.”

One beneficiary of the partnership is single parent Hamida Bibi, who was referred to Seetec from Job Centre Plus. She had never worked before and lacked confidence in her spoken and written English. After Seetec involved her in the Twist group, Hamida said: I’m very happy with what I’ve learnt and feel much more confident, which has helped me to make friends and engage with others in my community. I’m also far more health-conscious now and more equipped to look after my family’s wellbeing – it’s been a life changing experience.”

The Group’s visit to Bradford proved a great success, with the Lord Mayor of Bradford welcoming the group, and members of the Twist delegation explaining their experiences of changing their families’ diets and lifestyles. After the presentations, the groups visited the local area, including the moors and the Keighley steam railway.

Humayun Islam, Chief Executive of BEAP, explained: “I think it’s going to inspire them, because its coming directly from somebody with the same background, from the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community.

“They are saying: ‘these are the changes I’ve made in my diet, and they are going to make a real difference. You could do this as well’. Instead of a practitioner coming in and preaching to them, this is much more powerful. It could empower them, and our group from Bradford could then go to a group in Manchester, for example.”

Shankara enthused: “Few of the women in our group had been outside London and, at first, they didn’t want to go. In the end, they wanted to get up on stage and tell their story. It gave them the chance to look outside their own community.

“Now they will try to extend the collaboration with the Bradford group, who want to visit London to learn how to set up a similar project in their community. Eventually they could establish a group of women who lead on changing lifestyles all over the UK, it’s like lighting a beacon which spreads all the way around the country.”

Nurjahan Bibi from the Twist group said: “When I spoke on the microphone, I felt proud of what I had done and what we were going to do together.”

Shagufta Sabir added: “We were leading on our project for health and they were listening to us about how we can change the lives of so many people. This is the first time I have felt so strong about doing something for this country where I have lived for nearly thirty years.”

A member of the Bradford group commented: “I learnt lots of things about diabetes and healthy food and I really feel inspired to get involved with this project.”

Seetec has been established for more than 30 years, helping hundreds of thousands of people to find employment, gain new skills or start an apprenticeship. To find out more, see www.seetec.co.uk.

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Employability Partners

Posted By Sak Awan, S Knights Recruitment, 13 September 2017

Investing back into the sector

By Sak Awan, Director of Employability and Skills, S Knights Recruitment

[This article first appeared in FE News]

 

“The industry is changing” … “yep, I’ve heard”

“It’s going to be exciting” … “heard a few people say that too”

“Are you ready for the challenges ahead?” … “well kind of, but does anyone know what it will actually look like?”

I was lucky enough to be invited by the Chair of IEP to their most recent Corporate Affiliates meeting.

For anyone who hasn’t heard of the IEP their Vision Statement describes them perfectly: “The IEP is dedicated to supporting the people who support others gain work, progress in work and retain work”. I was surrounded by genuinely passionate leaders from within the sector who had taken time out of their very busy roles, at some of the sectors leading providers, to discuss and debate the changes, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

As well as being honoured to be invited to the meeting, I wasn’t aware the IEP is the only professional membership institute for the employability profession. It represents its members to key influencers and sets standards for the profession. They reeled off a list of benefits (which can be found on their website) as well as their research, policy development and other important work they are doing within the sector for the sector.

I was excited, inspired and full of ideas. The optimism and thought-provoking dialogue, which will shape the future of the sector we all love, was indescribable. The resources developed by partners and the wealth of knowledge and CPD opportunities were all news to me. The development of industry specific standards for employability and skills professionals is taking place as we speak under the banner of ‘Trailblazers’. They are supported by, already available, industry specific qualifications (ERS and ESS) and are being developed by leaders in our sector – I decided then that I wanted to be part of this!

S Knights Recruitment – Investing back into the sector

As a result, S Knights Recruitment is investing back into the sector and has joined the IEP as a Corporate Affiliate Partner. We have been able to secure a 33% discount for anyone who signs up as a Member of IEP through their website, you don’t have to be our candidate or client… you just have to be passionate about employability and skills and want to see this sector flourish.

S Knights Recruitment wants to be part of the vision to “support the people who support others gain work, progress in work and retain work” do you?

Visit the IEP website to find out more and use CODE: SKNIGHTS

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Employability Partners

Posted By Heather Ette, 06 September 2017

Boosting Confidence and Self Esteem is Key to Empowering Tamil Women

A key element of Belina’s Get Ready For Work approach is to link with local groups and organisations to help women build their confidence and self-esteem and support them into suitable, sustainable employment. 

One of these organisations in Croydon is Empowering Tamil Families which specialise in providing practical and social support services to the Asian community and is making a huge practical difference to local people’s lives.

Empowering Tamil Families is run by Parent Support Worker and Health Champion Yoga Jeyasuntaram and her Positive Parenting and Positive Thinking Workgroup operates each week at Broad Green Library in Croydon.  The Group has been working together since January 2017 to provide a wide range of support to local Tamil women offering advice on issues from relationships, parenting, finance, budgeting and domestic abuse to assertive communication, volunteering, practical skills and employment opportunities.

Yoga explains “We set up the Positive Parenting and Positive Thinking Workgroup in response to local demand from women who said they needed some kind of class or support group to help them improve their skills.  Many of the women we work with are hugely talented and possess really useful skills that would be of value to employers but they need help to improve their English speaking, communication and presentation skills. Through the funding we have received from Croydon Council’s Asian Resource Centre we have been able to offer a range of support that includes partnering with Belina Consulting’s ‘Get Ready for Work’ Programme to deliver end to end support to improve these women’s education, skills, knowledge, confidence, performance, employability and ultimately their life chances and the life chances of their families.”

Adults and parents enrolling on The Positive Parenting and Positive Thinking Workgroup are first given support with their English reading, writing and spoken English.  The GRoW Programme then delivers specialist support that focuses on raising women’s self-esteem and confidence and helping them to understand the skills, talents and capabilities they have and how they can put them to use in employment.  GRoW also delivers training to help people prepare for finding a job, such as CV writing and communication, presentation and interview skills.

Yoga said “In Tamil culture women are generally not expected to work and are encouraged to stay at home to look after their children.  When they come to our Workgroups they can see the skills they have are of real value and that they can improve their lives through work.  We have had around 40 people on our courses and the feedback we have received is that they are growing their self esteem and building their confidence and motivation. We are also very pleased to have seen two of our customers find work through our support.  We have a volunteer called who works with us who is still working at the age of 65. She is extremely talented and has skills in sewing, tailoring, jewellery making, cooking, beauty therapy and child care.  Many of the women we work with have similar skills and we are helping them understand that these skills are highly regarded and can be very employable”.

Ahila Mathew works with Yoga and Liz providing mainly administrative support “Most of the women who come to our courses really struggle with speaking and understanding English and so part of my job is to translate for them and to help them with filling in forms. We also have an English volunteer called Irene Jorke who does great work in supporting our Spoken English class. The feedback we are getting is that it is making a big difference to improving their lives. They enjoy coming and taking part in the group sessions and the 1:1 sessions they have with Liz are really useful.  As I am supporting them by translating to English they are able to get their point across, be understood and ask the kind of questions they haven’t had the opportunity to ask before” said Ahila.

Liz Sewell, Belina Consulting Director and Founder of GRoW, said “The work that Yoga, Ahila and the Empowering Tamil Women team are doing in Croydon is invaluable. Engaging with people in the right way to help them understand they have talents and skills is the first step to improving their confidence, motivation and self esteem.  This ground work is absolutely paramount to helping people prepare for employment and we are delighted to partner with such a great organisation that recognises the importance of providing this type of support and realising that it is central to improving people’s employability. We look forward to continuing our work together and to help support more local Tamil women into suitable employment”.

Find out how the GRoW Programme helps women get ready for work here

This GRoW project is funded by the European Social Fund and Building Better Opportunities.

 

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Employability Partners

Posted By Remploy, 31 August 2017
Updated: 29 August 2017

Monika rebuilds her life - one stitch at a time

Life hasn’t been easy for 62 year old Monika Thomas. Born in Pakistan, she came to London at the age of 20 with her husband and small baby, didn’t speak English, and struggled to make friends.

Monika ended up confined to their small one room flat. She also suffered a major trauma 25 years ago, when one of her three children, aged nine, was killed in a car accident when playing outside her house,which led to Monika having a heart attack, severe anxiety, panic attacks and stress. With help from Remploy, the disability employment specialists, Monika sought to rebuild her life and with their support she managed to secure a job as a seamstress at London-based ‘Fashion Enter’.

She said: “I can’t work in a stressful environment with my condition, so it was hard for me to find a suitable job. Remploy helped me a lot with my confidence and they gave me the encouragement and support I needed to get this job which I really enjoy! It makes me feel emotionally happy and I now have a great support network of colleagues and friends who know how to help me if I am feeling low. ”

Fashion Enter is a not for profit, social enterprise, which aims to be a centre of excellence for fashion production while providing learning and development opportunities in fashion and textiles. They also supply major clothing retailers across the UK. Monika said: “I help to make all sorts of garments from dresses and shirts to scarves and even babies booties. The styles are often quite different depending on the company order and I work on a variety of clothing which is interesting, it is a good challenge for me. I’m now a happier person and I have a seven year old granddaughter who is very intelligent and loves to sing, I really enjoy spending time with her and my family.”

Jenny Holloway, Director of Fashion Enter said: “Monika is quiet and unpretentious, with a really good heart. Initially she was lacking in confidence but it has been an absolute privilege to see how she has grown and flourished. Now she is one of the best machinists in the fashion studio. It is important for us to give people an opportunity to succeed and Monika is doing really well with the company.”

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