Bud­get out­fits for job­seek­ers

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Rob Byrne rbyrne@thek­m­ @rbyrneKM

Kent char­ity Demelza Hospice for Chil­dren and ca­reers com­pany De­but are help­ing job­seek­ers choose the cor­rect clothes for the work­place on the cheap.

The Dress to Im­press scheme al­lows job seek­ers to kit them­selves out with the right at­tire to ace an in­ter­view for just £10.

The move to pro­vide ad­vice along­side low-cost cloth­ing is to help al­le­vi­ate fi­nan­cial bur­dens on the un­em­ployed, par­tic­u­larly young adults look­ing for their first paid-for post af­ter re­search re­vealed 72% of ca­reer hope­fuls aged 16-23 didn’t know where to start.

The Maid­stone branch in the Royal Star Ar­cade is one of three town cen­tre Demelza stores across the county tak­ing part in the cam­paign. The oth­ers are in Ton­bridge and Can­ter­bury.

Ash­ley Hen­son, di­rec­tor of re­tail for Demelza said: “There’s lots in the news about fash­ion and re­cy­cling at the mo­ment and the op­por­tu­nity to look af­ter some of our younger cus­tomers.

“We’re aim­ing for our 16-24-year-old au­di­ence and we wanted to help them with their ca­reer de­vel­op­ment and with op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­ter­view and link­ing in to the work that De­but do and the Char­ity Re­tail As­so­ci­a­tion. It’s a nice part­ner­ship be­tween the three of us.”

When asked about some of the ad­vice cus­tomers would get in store, Ash­ley Hen­son added: “We would cer­tainly rec­om­mend that they look at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s dress code, we’ve had lots of chat about when we’ve gone for in­ter­views and some­times felt like we were ei­ther too smart or a lit­tle un­der-dressed.

“But we would point them in the right di­rec­tion and we could cer­tainly help with look­ing up de­tails of the com­pany, but we would say, do you want to be smart, do you want to be for­mal, do you want a whole out­fit? Or do you want to ac­ces­sorize?

“Some­times walk­ing in with a leather bin­der with your CV in it is a great first im­pres­sion, so we can help in all ar­eas.”

Paul Car­roll, man­ager at Demelza’s Royal Star Ar­cade store said: “It’s also for the big­ger pic­ture, for peo­ple who are chang­ing ca­reers or who have been out of the work­place for a long time, so it’s for ev­ery­one just a cheap, good qual­ity out­fit they can wear for in­ter­views.

“We haven’t just stuck to suits and skirts, there’s a wide range of ca­reers nowa­days.”

Pic­tures: Andy Jones 4917454

Rob Byrne tries Demelza’s new scheme with Ash­ley Hen­son, di­rec­tor of re­tail and Paul Car­roll, man­ager

TV fash­ion ex­pert Am­ber Butchart is be­hind the ini­tia­tive pi­o­neered by Demelza and De­but

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