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Getting Southwark back to work

London SE1 website team

A mosaic designer with a stall at Hay's Galleria is one of 25 people helped back into work by a project working with people who face difficulties finding a job.

Southwark Works
Jay James – mosaic designer

Southwark Works! is a team of specialist advisers who work with people who face difficulties in finding employment. This could be for a variety of reasons including ill health, disability, a history of drug or alcohol problems, language difficulties or because they can't find or afford childcare.

The project has had a busy 7 months. The programme, which started in autumn 2004, has seen nearly 300 people, found 25 of them jobs, 93 are in job related training and helped another 51 with CV preparation. For lone parents who need help to find suitable childcare, Southwark Works! has filled 76 childcare places and offered 65 parents financial support.

Shani, one of the programme's first clients, is now working for BA London Eye. Shani had been unemployed for a couple of years after a difficult time in her life and was thinking of getting back to work but hadn't done anything about it. "Southwark Works! helped me with putting my CV together, how to fill in job applications and purchased some interview clothes for me. That gave me a lot more confidence when I went for the interview."

"I went on a pre-employment training programme, which wasn't a guaranteed job, but a guaranteed interview. Fortunately I was successful and that's where I'm now working. It changed my life, from that first meeting; I wouldn't be where I am today. I'd probably still be at home not believing in myself," she added.

Another Southwark Works! success story is Jay James. Jay is a mosaic designer with a stall at Hay's Galleria. After having her daughter, Jay found it difficult to get back to work. Southwark Works! helped Jay to find suitable, affordable childcare, so she has been able to start her own business. "Southwark Works! is a fantastic service. It has helped me greatly and I hope it goes on to help a whole heap of other people."

Local employers are also benefiting from the programme. Alistair Williamson, manager of the Tesco store in the Old Kent Road, explains: "a good recruitment consultancy provides us with the right staff for the right environment. So members of staff want to be part of a great team. Working with Southwark Works! we're finding fantastic people that fit with Tesco and Tesco fits with them. We have tremendous staff loyalty and those staff are not only loyal to Tesco but to the customers as well. The whole relationship is self-generating and works exceptionally well for us as a business."

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