Support for jobseekers
It can be difficult to stay motivated when job hunting, writes Suzanne Baum. However, the support provided by a charity set up to help unemployed Jewish people get back into the workplace, could make the process a whole lot easier.
The Employment Resource Centre, in Finchley, North London, has helped more than 6,000 people in their search for employment since it opened in 1992. With the sole aim of providing the best possible service to help clients find a job, the charity has succeeded in meeting the needs of both the Orthodox and less observant members of the community.
The charity provides a one-to-one advisor for each of its clients, from school leavers searching for their first job through to the elderly wishing to work a day a week. There are 25 volunteers giving job-search advice at the centre.
If a client wishes, he or she can attend training sessions at the centre, covering a number of different skills to help land a job.
Topics include how to write a CV, interview skills, lessons in starting up your own business, as well as computer training.
It is the last that David Arnold, chairman of the centre, believes is vital when it comes to helping a client secure a job.
“Nowadays, so many jobs require staff to be computer-literate, so we try to provide them with the basic, as well as advanced, level of computer training they may need.”
As well as overseeing the charity, Mr Arnold works as one of its volunteers and has seen all sorts of people walk through the charity’s doors.
“Kids with no qualifications come to us for advice, as well as professionals who have, for example, been made redundant. It can be a difficult time for them, so to know there is a communal place that can help is a good thing.
“We helped one Orthodox man find a job working for a government department. One of his concerns was that he was uneasy about asking for time off on Shabbat and Jewish festivals, but we advised him on the correct way of handling this matter.”
As well as running a networking department out in the community, the charity has a graduate training programme every year, to advise university leavers on how to find a job.
“This programme is hugely popular,” Mr Arnold points out. “Leaving university and trying to find work can be a bit scary at first, but we try to make the process a whole lot easier.”
Clients also like the fact that they can use the charity’s offices as a base. As well as having access to computers, including the Internet, clients can use the office stationery, telephones and photocopier. They can also read the daily newspapers in the office and use the on-site reference library.
“Being able to offer these services for free is great as it has kept the charity going,” explains Mr Arnold. “My aim now is to make the community more aware of what we do.”
It is thanks to trust funds and money raised by the community through private functions that the charity has the backing that it so greatly deserves. And with the centre’s proven success rate, Mr Arnold is keen this year to expand the facilities of the charity and enhance its website (www.ercentre.org) to make it useable for unemployed people in other cities.
“I want Jews out of London to be able to use our website as an online resource centre where they can access the information they need without having to visit our London office.”
The Employment Resource Centre offers practical and personal assistance