Smart Works

Our mission is to help women on low incomes in the UK secure employment, by giving them a complete outfit of professional clothes to wear to their job interview followed by one-to-one interview training to boost their confidence.
Aug 23, 2016

Smart Works Roll Out:Birmingham Launch August 2016

Birmingham Set Up and Launch
Birmingham Set Up and Launch
We are thrilled to announce the opening of Smart Works Birmingham which officially launched on Tuesday 2nd August.

Birmingham is a vibrant city with many great industries, but it also has high levels of female unemployment. We believe that there is great potential to help women back in to work by bringing the Smart Works dressing and interview preparation service to the area.

Smart Works Birmingham is chaired by Rebecca, Chief Executive of Northfield Community Partnership, a charity which has been working to address the huge gap in the job skills market since 2007. Rebecca is confident that, "Bringing the Smart Works service to Birmingham will provide a valuable and unique service for women in our city.  There are many support services available, but nowhere can they get the focused two hour service to provide them with the right outfit for their job interview, combined with coaching to give them the confidence to succeed.  I was so pleased to find the Smart Works service to plug this gap and am looking forward to bringing it to life in our area.”

We have had some fantastic news coverage with the Birmingham Office Manager, Joanne on BBC West Midlands radio talking about the launch of Smart Works and the Birmingham team have now started dressing clients. 

Smart Works Birmingham is the fourth Smart Works centre to open outside of London, following Smart Works Edinburgh in 2014 and Smart Works Manchester and Smart Works Reading in 2015. We are extremely proud of the fact that in each location, over one in two of the women we are able to contact after their visit go on to get the job.

If you would like to get involved and volunteer your time or skills, please contact Birmingham@Smartworks.org.uk.

Links:

May 13, 2016

Smart Works Annual Update

We’ve just completed our end of financial year analysis for Smart Works, and I wanted to send all of our Global Giving donors a massive thank you for the support you have given us during that time. 

It is our first full year as a national organisation, dressing and training women to succeed at their job interviews in London, Manchester, Edinburgh and Reading.  We’ve seen over 2000 clients, delivered over 2600 appointments and, best of all, maintained a UK-wide success rate of over 59% of those we were able to contact going on to get the job.

We have exciting plans for the coming year, with Birmingham opening its doors in July and more new cities in our pipeline.  We are passionate about ambitious but stable and sustainable growth so we can reach more women.

I have enclosed a short presentation to bring this to life which I hope you enjoy.  

We look forward to working with you over the coming months to help more women be the very best that they can be.  One of our recent clients said to us, “Keep doing what you do.  You make dreams come true.”  With your support, we intend to do just that.

The Smart Works Team


Attachments:
Jan 28, 2016

Update on Smart Works' Year in 2015 and Roll Out

Letitia in the Smart Works dressing room
Letitia in the Smart Works dressing room

We have had a fantastic year and by the end of 2015 we are happy to report that the Smart Works family is expanding quickly with three new Smart Works premises’ now open across the UK in Edinburgh, Manchester and Reading. Each of these Smart Works centres now have a great staff team in place and have recruited and trained a fantastic team of volunteers to deliver the service. Each new Smart Works have also worked hard to build retail and corporate relationships to ensure that each office’s dressing rooms are well stocked and that corporates within the local area are aware of the organisation. Time has been spent building up relationships with local referral agencies to ensure each office reaches out to women who will benefit from a visit to Smart Works. 

Edinburgh has supported over 100 women since opening and has hosted celebratory evenings at their local Hobbs store to raise awareness for the charity. Roseanna Cunningham, Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training spoke at one of these evenings and shared her thoughts that, “Preparing for a job interview can be an incredibly stressful experience where any anxieties can feel magnified and overwhelming. Having confidence in how you appear to your prospective employer is a very powerful way to regain that control. Smart Works, Hobbs and their other partners have not only given women interview clothes and advice; they have given them invaluable confidence.”

Manchester have also reached that fantastic milestone this year, dressing their 100th client with 73% of the clients they were able to contact, after their visit to Smart Works, going on to get the job. An extraordinary success rate to be celebrated after just seven months of operation.

Reading have had a great launch and have quickly built up a fantastic network of 27 referral partners as well as building on our partnership with The Prince’s Trust outside London.

Smart Works works and we are passionate about taking our service to as many women as we can. We hope to open 2 to 3 more Smart Works centres across the UK by the end of 2016 and have had a great amount of interest from potential locations.

Our key learnings this year are that it takes some time to establish in each area and build up the necessary relationships and partnerships. With that in mind we have revised our dressing targets so that we aim to dress at least 10 clients per week in each centre, an aim of dressing 500 clients per centre per year.

We also recognise that with each new centre that opens, we can learn from each other in terms of new ideas, improved processes and best practise.

We are delighted to share with you a recent, wonderful client success story.  Letitia came to see us needing a confidence boost after being unsuccessful at over 30 job applications which had understandably knocked her confidence.  After a wonderful two hours with our dressing team and interview coach, she went on to get the job and now has a role she really wanted, working in HR for Google.  Returning a few months later for a second dressing Letitia remarked on how much her confidence had grown. We hope the photograph brings to life the powerful impact that your support has had for Smart Works over the last 12 months.

 
   

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