Date: October 17, 2023
September marked a special moment for the charity Smart Works. It has been ten years since we first became Smart Works, founded with a mission to take our London dressing and coaching service to help women across the UK. Ten years on, and there is much to be proud of. 32 000 women helped, 11 centres opened, and 69% going on to the get the job.
“The reason I first fell in love with this charity is still the reason I love it now. It is very easy to explain what we do clearly – we dress and coach unemployed women for their job interview so they can fulfil their potential and change their lives. And yet this simple sounding intervention has a profound and positive impact on everyone around it.” Kate Stephens, CEO of Smart Works.
We were thrilled that earlier this year, our founder and Honorary President, Juliet Hughes-Hallett was awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours in recognition of services to unemployed women. Jules founded Smart Works in 2013, driven by a vision for tackling the difficulties women face in the workplace, and a deep understanding of the difference that fashion and coaching can have on women’s lives. Her passion for our service, our volunteers and above all our clients has inspired our growth. Her legacy could not be more profound. The need for our service has never been more pronounced, and we will double in size by 2025, helping over 10,000 women and ensuring that at least 65% go on to get the job.
The Birmingham Smart Works team is led by Chairwoman Philippa Pickavance and her board of professional female trustees, inspiring future planning and providing invaluable support and direction. The operational team of 3 are Lilly Clements, Fundraising and Partnerships Manager; Emma King, Outreach Assistant; and Ann Powell, Outreach and Centre Manager. Birmingham. The Smart Works Birmingham core interview preparation service is delivered by 40 dedicated and passionate volunteers.
“I felt safe with my coach, and I was happy to share some of the stuff I’d been through with her. I came out of the coaching session thinking I am going to go for it. I absolutely know that without Smart Works I wouldn’t be where I am now. Women helping women is powerful and the way you do it with such kindness and respect is amazing.” Fiona, Smart Works Birmingham Client Champion
Smart Works Birmingham was founded in 2016 and celebrated its 7th birthday this year. In this time, they have supported over 3,000 women in need from the West Midlands to get into employment.