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Location: Birmingham
Date: April 24, 2024
Birmingham City University hosts Charity Fashion Sale for Smart Works Birmingham image

Birmingham has the youngest population in Europe and unfortunately, it’s this younger demographic that has the highest unemployment rates across the UK. Smart Works Birmingham wants to reach these younger women to let them know about the support they offer. They support women in disadvantaged circumstances to succeed at interview and get the job. They do this by providing a one-hour styling session to find the perfect outfit (free and theirs to keep), along with a coaching session to fully prepare for the interview. 75% of the women they see get a job within one month.

Birmingham City University opened their doors to Smart Works Birmingham and supported the charity to host a Fashion Sale to the students. All the clothing had been donated to the charity for the purpose of raising vital funds to sustain their vital work.

“It made such sense to sell to the students who would appreciate a great bargain whilst using the event as an opportunity to tell them about what we do. Students leaving University may need our service, some really struggle when leaving the educational system.” (Lilly Clements, Fundraising & Partnerships Manager at Smart Works Birmingham)

One previous Smart Works client was applying for graduate jobs and needed support. In her words she was “afraid” to have an interview. She had already had several interviews which hadn’t gone well. She was given feedback about her tendency to stutter and about the lack of structure and clarity to her answers. These experiences obviously impacted on her confidence, and this is where Smart Works can really help. Asked whether she would recommend Smart Works, the client was very clear. “When you’re a student at university it’s such a big leap to get into the world of work. It’s all new to us so we need all the help and advice we can get. I’m so grateful to everyone who helped me at Smart Works. They were all lovely and I know that without that support I would have struggled.”

The event raised £650 for the charity which will go towards supporting their aim to help 900 women this year to get into employment. The awareness raised at this event cannot be underestimated.

“It was a fantastic day. It was great to see so many students talking to you about the service for future interviews. You are an amazing charity, and we are happy to support.” (Jo Hurley, Fashion Branding & Communications Lecturer at Birmingham City University)