Futures for Women is an historic charity that has been helping women into the workplace for 160 years. In 2019 and 2020 we are partnering with The Sharan Project to organise skills workshops in Birmingham for women who have been subject to domestic abuse, forced marriage or cultural conflict, in order to give them the confidence to apply for employment. The workshops have the support of the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands.
The 4-week workshops work in collaboration with two other organisations to prepare the women for employment. Go Train deliver the skills training and the charity Smart Works provides interview training and a capsule working wardrobe to those women who secure employment. Advice on health and well-being is also provided. In addition, it is hoped that the workshops will raise the self-esteem of the women and create a new network of friends in their local area. On-going support for the weeks and months after the workshops complete is offered by The Sharan Project.
Two workshops were successfully run in 2019 when 16 women completed the programme with a further 16 women were supported towards accessing further courses, access to services, childcare and travel costs through this project. We are beginning to receive feedback about successful job applications and one women is now working at a school and training to become a teaching assistant, one is working for the NHS, another as a carer and the fourth as a youth worker. The other women are continuing to improve their skills and apply for vacancies.
Since attending the course we have received the following feedback:
“I feel so much more confident now and found out that I have skills I didn't know before”
“without the course and your support, I would not have had the skills and confidence to do this, thank you for believing in me and never giving up”
We did aim to hold another 2 workshops in Birmingham in 2020 to build on the success of the programme in 2019. The coronavirus outbreak does mean that the organisation of the workshops has been delayed but we hope that one workshop can take place before the end of the year with the second workshop being organised for early 2021.