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Getting back to work
THERE’S no such thing as a typical TCV Employment and Training Services client, but Clare Dingwall has some favourite success stories.
“Somebody came in not knowing what direction to go in. He was a man who’d been quite high in the executive sector – car sales,” said Clare. “He’d just been made redundant and he was negative, down and depressed and it was affecting his physical health, his mental health, his whole balance of life, his self-worth.
“He was looking at the prospect of having his house repossessed and his marriage was on the rocks. The poor chap was obviously in a very bad place.
“He came and spoke to us and we discussed his options. He came to a confidence and motivation workshop which promoted his self-esteem again and gave him back his self-worth. We created a professional CV together and we equipped him with good interview skills.”
The next step was an assessment of the man’s strengths, skills and experience. Clare added: “It matched him to a different job sector to the one he’d been working in, a sector which really interested him. He became a firefighter – a full time fireman. His marriage is back together.”
TCV is a charity devoted to providing people with the skills they need to find their way in the jobs market. Some of its clients are young people just out of education, some are returning to the jobs market after time out doing other things, and others are people who’ve spent years in employment but suddenly find themselves redundant or the victim of an employer going out of business. Some are people who have been unemployed for a long time and believe – wrongly – that obtaining work is beyond their capabilities.
The clients who’ve suddenly lost their jobs are often at a complete loss about what to do, and this is something Clare can especially relate to because she was in a similar situation not so long ago.
Born in Swindon to a businessman father and a mother who was a carer, she attended Hreod Parkway School before working in a series of office jobs which culminated in a 13-year-stint with Nationwide. There she provided technical support to the vast organisation’s branch network.
Then, three years ago, came a hammer blow familiar to all too many people caught in the wake of the economic catastrophe of 2008.
“I was made redundant. It was a huge shock, like a bereavement. All my friends were there and I’d been with Nationwide for so long that felt I’d grown up there. That was all I knew, really,” she said.
“I didn’t have a CV and I didn’t really know about any organisations such as this one. All I knew at the time was that you went to a Job Centre and signed on. I wasn’t offered any help. I was perhaps feeling what a lot of people coming through our door feel.”
Clare joined TCV in 2011, having picked up some CV and interview tips from the National Careers Service, and hasn’t looked back. Like the rest of the small team at the charity, she relishes her work.
She said: “We build confidence and motivate people; we have CV sessions and do interview skills. We get people employment-ready.
“We set up interviews. We have an employment broker who works closely with local employers, and when people are in work they have a dedicated support person who they can contact here if they need advice and guidance.”
The major issues affecting clients? “One is a lack of confidence. ‘Where do I go? What do I do? Who’s going to help me?’ With me, for example, I was Nationwide through and through, and I would probably have still been there now if I hadn’t been made redundant. I didn’t know where else there was.”
Another issue is CV problems. Some have never prepared one, while others may be relying on one they prepared many years ago, and outdated ones can be very off-putting for employers. Still others have CVs prepared by companies who advertise online, and the results don’t always justify the fees.
“You need to know your market,” said Clare. “You need to prepare. Research and preparation are key. A lot of people think, ‘Well, I’ve had a job for 20 years and I know everything’. It’s getting out of that mindset.”
TCV’s services are free, and the team wishes more people were aware of TCV and what it does.
Clare added: “It’s there for people to utilise to its full potential, but it’s not being used to its full potential because people don’t know we’re here.”
On Thursday, September 5, TCV will host a jobs fair from 11am to 3pm at its HQ on the second floor of Paxton House in Prospect Place. For further information about TCV call 01793 640255 or email email@example.com
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