A new Job Club has opened in Reading and its first course is in full swing. The Job Club is run by Christians Against Poverty (CAP), who also offer debt counselling and money management advice.
The course is run by Suzanne Mitchell, CAP Job Club Manager. “I had already worked for CAP as a debt coach for over a year.” she said. “They were talking about opening a CAP Job Club here in Reading and I jumped at the opportunity.” Suzanne knew there was a problem because of her work helping people manage their money. “I knew that unemployment was a huge issue that needs to be addressed here in Reading so it was great to open the Job Club.
“This is the first group and it’s going really well. I’m pleased with the number of people who have come. We’ve got 12 people in total but we have capacity for more. The more people who come the better the discussions.”
Julie Pritchard, one of the Job Club customers was glad for the support that the Job Club had provided. “I find that you’re not always the best equipped person to help yourself into work.” she said. “Sometimes it takes a bit of support to just keep going, it all takes time. Job Clubs are really helpful for pushing you to do what needs to be done to get work.”
Some of the people attending Job Club have been to similar groups. “I’ve been to other Job Clubs,” said Adrian Shell, “but this one offered different things. It was the fact that it was 8 weeks start to end that gave me something to aim for. Its integrated teaching, self-help and you can help others. It’s got everything all in one.
“I’ve found it really helpful,” he said, “it’s shown me new things and new ways of looking at things. My CV is done, I’m doing improvements to it. There’s a coaching session here which is nice and I’ve set some goals today. We had mock interviews and last week employers came in as well so it’s a nice mix.”
Job Club customer Andy Webb said: “It’s given me a few more ideas of what I can actually do, where I’ve been going wrong in certain things. I’ve got more confidence in my interview technique. I had 35 job interviews last year and 11 this year and people say ‘why haven’t you got a job yet?’ I’ve now done a mock interview and I was told that I come across very well. It gives me the confidence that I’m not doing anything wrong and I’m going in the right direction.”
If you attend the CAP Job Club you will get help with CV’s, mock interview practice and much more. “We cover things such as goal setting, we review our strengths and how we communicate that to employers or how do we do that in an interview.” explained Suzanne.
The sessions are fun and interactive, for instance a lesson on the difference between working alone and in a team was based around a hands on biscuit decorating exercise. This then led to a discussion about working together for the same goal, communicating, knowing what you’re supposed to be doing and training a new member of the team. Suzanne then showed the group how this information could be used in answering questions at an interview.
Even though the course finishes soon Suzanne and the team are still available for advice. “People can still come in for help in brushing up their CV’s, there’s still support one to one until we do the next course in September.” said Suzanne. “We want CAP Job Club to be really personal, a face that meets the practical and emotional needs of people. Part of that is giving people the opportunity to have a monthly one to one coaching session. They come along and we look at their particular needs, they use it however they want to but we have an exercise we can go through looking at different areas, if they need building up we find out how we can best support them in that.”
CAP Job Club, money management courses and debt counselling are all free services and available to anyone regardless of religious beliefs. They ensure that nobody receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, nationality, religion, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation or disability.
The next Job Club starts in the middle of September but the Job Club is open every Wednesday from 1 o’clock for people to come in and ask for advice.
Courses are held at Woodley Hill House, Eastcourt Avenue, Reading, RG6 1HH