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DWP Community Connectors share employment success


DWP Community Connectors Team offers support to women who have no work experience or may have been away from the labour market for some time, to gain valuable skills and experience in order to achieve career goals. Their work also involves supporting women that face barriers to finding employment such as victims of domestic violence and ex-offenders.


In this blog, Community Connectors each share a positive story about women they have supported.


Hayley

Daniele was referred to the Community Connector Programme by her Work Coach, Farida in August 2020. Daniele had been out of work for several years due to raising her family and due to a change in her personal circumstances, she was now seeking work. She wanted support with building her confidence and was concerned about finding work which would fit in with school hours. Daniele was open to any opportunities which would help improve her future career prospects. I contacted Employer Adviser Joy regarding a current Work Experience Opportunity for a Cake Company and Daniele had previously ran her own Cake Business so was familiar with this working environment. I discussed changing the time of the interview for the opportunity due to clashing with school times and also advocated Daniele’s skills and enthusiasm for the role. Before the interview I contacted Farida to discuss helping out with interview clothes, Farida arranged an appointment and assistance for this was provided through the Flexible Support Fund. The Employer (Orchid Cake Company) created a Work Experience Opportunity for Daniele in a catering/cake decorating role for 8 weeks. I kept in contact with Daniele regularly during the placement checking that this was going well. Due to Daniele’s dedication and commitment during the placement, the placement was a success and Daniele was offered paid employment with the company. Daniele started work on 5/1/21, this is a perfect role for her as the hours are ideal and she is moving forward in a role she enjoys.


Donna

I first had contact with Shannon while conducting wellbeing calls during Covid in May, she is 22 and has 2 young children. I added her to my caseload and had regular check-ins to see how she was getting on as well as helping create a new CV. Shannon was happy for me to send newsletters and vacancies and in the new school year, I gave the claimant a call to ask how she was getting on. She was very down, applying for hundreds of jobs and not hearing a thing. I advised claimant to take a step back from applying for so many jobs during half term, enjoy some time with her children and concentrate on her wellbeing. I arranged to catch up 2 weeks later to discuss job sites and opportunities. At our next call, we looked at different jobs sites, supported with setting up alerts and how to look for transferable skills. A few weeks later claimant contacted me to say she had not only got one job but two and was closing her UC claim as she was completely self-reliant.


This is a little bit of the text she sent me:

Wanted to say a massive thank you for all of the pep talks, and also to let you know I am completely free of all Universal Credit, standing on my own two feet and supporting myself at long last. Wouldn’t have done it without receiving constant weekly emails reminding me there is work out there, and to keep going. Bet you don’t get many thank you’s, but here is a massive one! THANK YOU!

Bindy

In October 2019 Saila met me at her children’s primary school where I was delivering sessions to support women into employment and education. She had been out of work since 2013 and her youngest child was attending preschool part-time. I agreed to spend the next year supporting Saila to become job-ready in time for when her son started full-time school. I updated her CV and supported her in securing voluntary work to develop her administration skills to help with her confidence and obtain current experience. In September 2020 Saila started actively looking for employment. I sent her out our weekly newsletter highlighting suitable vacancies and supported her with the application process, including interview techniques. Saila has been invited to a number of interviews, and with each interview, her confidence has grown. She has now been offered permanent employment with the NHS in administration that started early January 2021.

Challenges

Community Connectors have faced challenges adapting to the new way of working due to the current pandemic. Services which would have been delivered in person have been altered to ensure that they can be offered by phone and electronically such as mock interviews and employability Moving Forward Sessions delivered as a conference call.

Image taken in spring 2019 - DWP Community Connectors team

Looking forward to the future, the DWP Community Connectors team said: “We would like to continue to support women in Walsall to encourage integration and also to inspire ladies to achieve their goals, moving forward into employment and furthering their career prospects. When restrictions ease and it is safe to do so, we would like to carry out with outreach delivery, delivering sessions which are sector-specific but also aim to join together communities in Walsall.”


To find out more or to contact the DWP Community Connectors, go to www.walsallforall.co.uk/dwp-community-connectors or email walsall.communityconnectors@dwp.gov.uk