Even before Covid19, if you were remotely interested in your team, your income or the world around you, then employment was probably on your radar. If you’re lucky, unemployment may have been less so. We all started somewhere and when earlier this year we ran a social media campaign to ask people to describe their first job in emojis only, we got a brilliant response. Either it’s the echo-chamber in which I exist online, or a lot of us started out in jobs that bear no resemblance to the one we have currently.
This is a really important part of our career journey that whilst powerfully communicated when the Careers and Enterprise Company take volunteers into schools to share their journey, tells only one part of the story.
You may have climbed the greasy pole of the career, spun off in new directions or even followed a loved one to a new corner of the globe, but what we almost always fail to talk about is the truth about how we really did it (and no, the answer wasn’t hard graft). We also didn’t do it in a vacuum. Each decision we took had an impact on another area of our life, our income, our relationship, our health and who it brought us into contact with.
As an organisation that exists to prevent homelessness, hopefully working in the arena of employability doesn’t seem like an outlandish leap. Having a home and job are inextricably linked, especially in an economy where work for many doesn’t pay, provides little prospect of saving for a mortgage and career progression is hard won.
CV and application letter writing workshops alongside employers coming to visit a school are an important part of preparing people for work. There is no doubt that some will struggle with those technical aspects. But that’s all they are and they are overdone in a crowded employability marketplace. They say nothing of the ‘soft skills’ that employers want. This isn’t necessarily because employers are recruiting people from prison, off the streets or other minoritised groups, but because the ability to build positive relationships, navigate difficult conversations, assert yourself appropriately and be heard are missing from this curriculum. And because they are much harder than running a CV workshop.
At Your Own Place we have the benefit of not only being money and budgeting experts and so able to support people to find (and keep) the right job for their lifestyle, but we deliver all the extras too. People and relationships are at the core of our model and the starting point of any transaction – from getting a job, to getting a home and getting married (we don’t teach that!). Our workshops develop the recognition of the value of soft skills, the confidence and knowledge of how and when to effectively use them and why they matter. Armed with these skills our aim is of not only supporting people to progress to a job, but to a home and the life they want to lead too. That’s the PLUS bit!