Moving Jobs Club Online During COVID-19

By Sam Forsdike | June 03 2020

Moving Jobs Club Online During COVID-19

Blog Category: General updateBlog Tags: Jobs & Skills, Education, Vulnerable Society, Education, Jobs & Skills, Children & Young People, Health & Wellbeing and Older People

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    The coronavirus and the lockdown measures that followed put many well-needed charity sector services into a difficult position in terms of their provision. At C4WS we transformed the employability support run through Jobs Club to be able to function online and remotely.

    Jobs Club is designed to help the people supported by C4WS to find employment, education, training or volunteering roles. It does so through one-to-one mentoring that usually takes place at our office’s training room: trained volunteers from local businesses help their allocated mentee for one hour per week to work towards their employability aims. The activities can range from identifying interests, to write CVs and job applications, to do mock interviews or just simply have someone to talk with about issues regarding looking for jobs over a cup of tea.

    However, at the heart of our Jobs Club is raising confidence to match someone’s pre-existing skills and talent. For that, it is essential to meet with a mentor who can provide guidance. encouragement and inspiration over the course of their time working together.

    As the Employment Support Coordinator I was initially a bit reluctant to run the whole service online for various reasons: how would it be possible to bring the Jobs Club’s warm atmosphere online? What sort of work will we do when most other services and businesses are closed meaning there are few training and job opportunities? How will people with lower IT literacy manage to cope with online techniques? With hindsight, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

    We’ve found ourselves in the really lucky position of receiving generous laptop and tablet donations from Social Box Biz that enabled remote working online to even be a possibility. In terms of the mentoring work, we slightly altered our aims: instead of applying for jobs or training, we shifted our focus to maintain employability skills, prepare for job application after the lockdown, or to help people getting their head around the huge supply of online courses and activities. Last but not least, having a mentor to talk with in times of lockdown has also proved to be invaluable in tackling social isolation.

    To date we have had 17 online mentoring sessions, where we are working on a handful of CVs, have managed to enrol people onto courses, helped others in their university or college applications, provided mock interviews or bespoke English lessons of vocabulary needed to be a car mechanic. Needless to say, we have managed to transfer the best of  Jobs Club onto an online platform and which now offers exciting new potential for developing the scope of what we can do and how we can deliver it.

    Laszlo Balla

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Sam Forsdike