Services and solutions delivered by Witton Lodge Community Association’s Employment and Skills team aim to equip the region’s unemployed with the skills and knowledge needed to find work or change career.
But much more than that, training sessions are co-ordinated so that participants engage in activities which boost their confidence, morale and self-esteem; team focussed activities which encourage them to become motivated, productive and self-sufficient individuals.
Last October six women enrolled on our Level 2 Employability course Promote Yourself. Each came to Witton Lodge seeking help to boost their job prospects. Each came to Witton Lodge needing to believe again, believe that they could start something new, achieve something different.
Alice Ion arrived in England from Romania in 2013. She’d previously worked with her husband as a wedding planner and hoped that her creative instinct and passion for people would allow her to follow a similar career path here.
But the young mother’s transition to a new life far from home was not as smooth as she’d hoped.
“I liked the idea of customer service roles because I enjoy working with people so much,” said Alice.
“But it was very difficult to get started. Because I was new in this country I didn’t know how things worked and the job market was very intense.
“I didn’t know where to start and although I tried to get help from different places it was a struggle. But last summer a few of my friends brought their kids to Witton Lodge Community Association for a child’s party and I decided to tag along.
“While I was there I discovered that they could help me with putting together a new CV, which is something I badly needed to help me try and find work.
“While I was discussing the services on offer at Witton Lodge I learned about their Promote Yourself course. While my English was okay it needed developing. I was very self-conscious and didn’t have much confidence. This course sounded like it could help me.
“But all these aspects have improved dramatically since I started the course. It has given me a real sense of stature and self-respect. My English is much better and my confidence is now sky high
“I have also made some wonderful friends, the group sessions were always very friendly and made you feel relaxed and connected.
“My tutor, Haleema, was a wonderful mentor who really helped me believe in myself and know that anything is possible. I am now actively seeking new opportunities to work with people and have already had three job interviews.”
The Promote Yourself course was delivered over a period of six-weeks with sessions taking place at Perry Common Community Hall and Perry Common Library.
And for Jean Ellis, they were six-weeks that have transformed everything.
“I’d lived in the local area for about a year having worked as a cleaner in schools around the Hall Green area of Birmingham,” she said.
“But I’d left this job, for personal reasons, and started signing on, so I’d not worked for a while.
“I would often pop into Perry Common Library as it was a good source of information for jobs and things. Apart from anything else I needed to get out of the house!
“One day I was in there as I needed to go on the computers and update my CV. That’s where I met Paul from Witton Lodge Community Association.
“As I talked to him about the help I needed he made me aware of all the courses the Association ran. Initially I was interested in finding something to help with my anxiety and Paul explained how their Wellbeing clinics could help with that.
“My work ambitions had changed. I’d had enough of cleaning and had ambitions to work in care, maybe for a hospice. I also liked the idea of kitchen work.
“I decided to enrol on the Promote Yourself course as it sounded like it could help me in what I wanted to do. I never expected it to have such a massive impact on my life.
“What this course has done for me is difficult to put into words really. It has given me so much confidence, just knowing that I can do things, I can do whatever I want to do, it’s amazing to have that self-belief and motivation to achieve something.
“It has really brought the best out of me and I am so thankful to Haleema and the other trainers for that.
“It’s not just about achieving a certificate and passing a course, it’s about personal discovery and growing as a person, as an individual. The whole experience was something that has made such a positive difference to me and my life.
“I am now much more outgoing and have the belief in myself to do things, to try things and to achieve things.
“I am now interested in doing something in admin, I never thought of that before but the course has given me the confidence to try something different, something new.
“Haleema showed great belief in me and I’ll never thank her enough for that because it’s made me believe in myself.”
Both Alice and Jean – alongside course companions Emma, Shwn, Theresa and Bridget – are now enjoying a new lease of life. The hard work they put into Promote Yourself is paying dividends for the sextet.
Brigit has started working in hospitality, Teresa is now volunteering as a business administrator, Shnw is getting lots of job interviews and Emma, with further help from Witton Lodge, is now pursuing an industry specific qualification.
Employment Coach, Haleema Khathoon reflected on her candidates’ success.
“The most satisfying aspect of being a trainer is being a part of the journey with them,” she said.
“To see them grow and develop so positively, to see their knowledge, wellbeing, self-esteem and sociability improve was wonderful. The ladies were transformed.
“They all worked incredibly hard and showed total commitment. My part was easy, I just helped to unlock their inner potential.”
The Promote Yourself course, delivered by Haleema, was subject to its own assessment from an external training provider, to validate the way it was delivered and how it benefits candidates.
“Having reviewed a sample of the work completed by the ladies on this course it is clear that they all went above and beyond what was asked of them to achieve outstanding results, they should be really proud,” said Emma Wanless, from awarding body NCFE.
“And this is testimony to the way in which Haleema nurtured and supported each and every one of them to believe in themselves and work both as individuals and as a team to accomplish their goals.”
The report also commended the depth of content featured on the course. It praised how candidates are encouraged to pursue a work/life balance, focus on their key strengths and not be afraid of trying things which take them outside their comfort zone.
Witton Lodge Community Association was established to make a difference, a positive difference to everyone who works and lives in our community who has a need.
Services are tailored to not only address the concerns and issues that people may be suffering but to provide effective, lasting solutions which provide pathways to opportunity and achievement, both on a personal and professional level.
With our key focus areas of housing, employment and wellbeing, we work hard to ensure Perry Common flourishes and that our residents, clients and partners all enjoy happy, productive lives.
To see and hear Alice and Jean talking about their experience attending the Promote Yourself course, click on the exclusive video below:
For more information on employment training opportunities with Witton Lodge Community Association please call the Employment and Skills team on 0121 382 1930.
Alternatively log onto our website at: www.wittonlodge.org.uk where you can also find out about our housing and wellbeing services.