Imagine you haven’t worked for two years. You were made redundant from your previous job through no fault of your own, before suffering a bereavement followed by a breakdown in your relationship. You found yourself with nowhere to stay at the same time as you were going through deep emotional turmoil. The experience was incredibly difficult and traumatic, but after working through it and getting yourself back on your feet, you are ready to start working again.
If you are staying at Evolve, that’s when you might start talking to me. I work with people across our services to link them into education, employment and training. I help people identify what kind of jobs they want, and find relevant opportunities they might be interested in. I also work with them to apply for training courses and create CVs. The opportunities we find are wide-ranging, in sectors from construction to media, hospitality, childcare, security, retail, and office administration.
Lots of us know how it feels to face barriers to landing the jobs we want. For people who have experienced homelessness, these barriers can be even more pronounced. They may have had bad experiences in previous roles, or quit suddenly because of other things happening in their lives. Sometimes they are young and have never had a job before, and no-one has helped them to decide what they want to do.
We are here to help remedy that. Everybody has different skills, but also different requirements for jobs based on things like their mental health and wellbeing. We consider all of those things and connect people to suitable opportunities. For example, we recently worked with someone who wanted to get a job but was nervous about being in a busy workplace. So we negotiated a role with a local business partner, who offered a flexible working environment that allowed her to feel comfortable and start working again. We have helped young people enroll in activities ranging from acting courses to digital skills training, and even found opportunities for others interested in writing to have their work published.
The idea of empowerment is central to how we work. We want people to feel like they can change things, and that they are in control of their lives. A secure job is often part of this: earning money is of course the main point of it, but it’s about more than that – they provide structure, help to build confidence, allow us to make friends and meet new people.
All of this is necessary for people when they want to move on from Evolve and into independent living. That is the aim for everybody staying with us – we are a stop along the way for people, not a final destination. A job is often a clear steppingstone on people’s path out of homelessness, so we must ensure that support in this area continues.
Benita works in our Work + Learning team. If you would like to support this work, please consider donating to our current Big Give campaign.