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Bolton at Home employment scheme up for housing award

Bolton at Home employment scheme up for housing award

An initiative to give people in Bolton the confidence for job interviews has been nominated for a northern housing award.

Working Wardrobe, launched in June 2018, is a key part of Bolton at Home’s support network and offers people appropriate clothing to wear for job interviews, as well as final interview preparation.

It has been shortlisted in the Resident Employment and Training Initiative of the Year at the Northern Housing Awards 2019.

Tony Cottam, Head of Employment and Enterprise at Bolton at Home, said: “We knew when we set this project up that clothes were an important element in our support network, but we didn't realise how important a part they played in our customers achieving a successful outcome.

“A visit to Working Wardrobe can literally be the difference between them getting the job or not. Our team has so far helped 141 customers prepare for their job interview and 69 of those have gained employment.

It is one of a number of initiatives that form part of Bolton at Home’s support network for giving people the confidence to look for and secure employment.

Bolton at Home offers a wide range of support through its UCAN centres, including help with job searches, writing CVs, interview coaching and preparation. The UCAN centres can also arrange for a range of other support to help people overcome barriers like low confidence and self-esteem, money or health worries.

Bolton resident John Fallows, pictured above, made use of the Working Wardrobe and support from Bolton at Home’s UCAN centres when he was made redundant from his job at a fencing company.

John, who lives in Tonge Moor, said: “At 47, I didn’t think it would be easy to get another job, but I knew that if I went to my local UCAN centre, I’d get the support I needed to get back into work. I’ve always struggled with interviews. I tend to seize up and I find it difficult to talk about myself and sell my skills to an employer. But with coaching from UCAN centre staff, and some practice, I’ve learned how to handle interviews better.”

This support came in handy when, just weeks later, John got an interview with online retailer, Amazon, for a job at its depot in Over Hulton. John was offered the job at the end of his interview and three weeks later started work as Fulfillment Associate.

He said: “I was invited down to Bolton at Home’s Working Wardrobe where they fitted me out with a new suit for the interview. I felt like a million dollars when I stepped out of the changing room, wearing my new pinstripe suit.

“My advice to anyone struggling to find work would be to give your local UCAN centre a try. I remember feeling a bit nervous when I first walked in. I had no computer skills at all. But everyone is so friendly and the staff are all experienced and know how to help you.”

The winners of the Northern Housing Awards 2019 will be announced on 23 May at Emirates Old Trafford.

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