Only two posts in one year. But I have a good excuse.  Image

Blogging fell by the wayside as I developed Room for Work, the employability course I deliver in Hampton Wick, KT1 4AL. Since we started in October 2012, we’ve helped 85 people improve their job search skills. At least 20 have found jobs. The others have reported a marked increase in skills and confidence. Which pleases me no end.

How do we do it? First, by giving job seekers their dignity — something that Jobcentre Plus and the DWP are very good at removing. As I mentioned in my last post, treating people like children is not the best way to get results. Especially when you want to help skilled workers, managers and professionals who actually want a job. The DWP’s usual approach is to treat people as if they are work shy, not work hungry.

We have experts on hand. For example: Kylie Taylor. Kylie is a LinkedIn expert who brings years of experience to the course, having developed a LinkedIn recruitment strategy for Added Value, a major marketing company. Kylie’s presentations are always pertinent — and entertaining too. And there’s Donna Williams, a senior executive with a no nonsense approach to hiring. Her tips on what employers look for are not to be missed if you’re looking for a job. Ges Ray joins us with his workshop on public speaking, an essential skill for interviews. Talking about yourself is crucial if you are to convince an employer of your worth. Garth Watkins helps us with interviews. He has interviewed hundreds of people in his long career with a major corporation. We’ve seen people get jobs within weeks of an interview practice with Garth.

The environment is businesslike yet friendly. I don’t enjoy a formal classroom where people are afraid to ask questions. At Room for Work everyone has their queries addressed. And we’re skill sharing now, with students helping each other. As a recent example, one of our members — a professional photographer — took free head shots for the group. Everyone was able to update their LinkedIn page with a smart looking photo, including yours truly.

We’re attracting volunteers. Our poster designs are done by Mark Palmer, a local designer. Data collection and reporting is delivered by Shelagh Laing, an ex-IBM executive. Katie Randerson is helping us with PR. Katie is a former brand manager from World Wildlife Fund. David Waine, a retired educator with years of public sector experience, has been with us from the beginning, acting as host and presenter on a variety of topics.

Room for Work is working. And it’s been keeping me rather busy.

Our next course commences January 7th, 2014 and runs to April 1st. To join us, register online at

Room for Work is Working