A key element of Belina’s Get Ready For Work approach is to link with local groups and organisations to help women build their confidence and self esteem and support them into suitable, sustainable employment. One of these organisations in Croydon is Empowering Tamil Families which specialise in providing practical and social support services to the Asian community and is making a huge practical difference to local people’s lives.
Empowering Tamil Families is run by Parent Support Worker and Health Champion Yoga Jeyasuntaram and her Positive Parenting and Positive Thinking Workgroup operates each week at Broad Green Library in Croydon. The Group has been working together since January 2017 to provide a wide range of support to local Tamil women offering advice on issues from relationships, parenting, finance, budgeting and domestic abuse to assertive communication, volunteering, practical skills and employment opportunities.
Yoga explains “We set up the Positive Parenting and Positive Thinking Workgroup in response to local demand from women who said they needed some kind of class or support group to help them improve their skills. Many of the women we work with are hugely talented and possess really useful skills that would be of value to employers but they need help to improve their English speaking, communication and presentation skills. Through the funding we have received from Croydon Council’s Asian Resource Centre we have been able to offer a range of support that includes partnering with Belina Consulting’s Get Ready for Work Programme to deliver end to end support to improve these women’s education, skills, knowledge, confidence, performance, employability and ultimately their life chances and the life chances of their families.”
Adults and parents enrolling on The Positive Parenting and Positive Thinking Workgroup are first given support with their English reading, writing and spoken English. The GRoW Programme then delivers specialist support that focuses on raising women’s self esteem and confidence and helping them to understand the skills, talents and capabilities they have and how they can put them to use in employment. GRoW also delivers training to help people prepare for finding a job, such as cv writing and communication, presentation and interview skills.
Yoga said “In Tamil culture women are generally not expected to work and are encouraged to stay at home to look after their children. When they come to our Workgroups they can see the skills they have are of real value and that they can improve their lives through work. We have had around 40 people on our courses and the feedback we have received is that they are growing their self esteem and building their confidence and motivation. We are also very pleased to have seen two of our customers find work through our support. We have a volunteer called who works with us who is still working at the age of 65. She is extremely talented and has skills in sewing, tailoring, jewellery making, cooking, beauty therapy and child care. Many of the women we work with have similar skills and we are helping them understand that these skills are highly regarded and can be very employable”.
Ahila Mathew works with Yoga and Liz providing mainly administrative support “Most of the women who come to our courses really struggle with speaking and understanding English and so part of my job is to translate for them and to help them with filling in forms. We also have an English volunteer called Irene Jorke who does great work in supporting our Spoken English class. The feedback we are getting is that it is making a big difference to improving their lives. They enjoy coming and taking part in the group sessions and the 1:1 sessions they have with Liz are really useful. As I am supporting them by translating to English they are able to get their point across, be understood and ask the kind of questions they haven’t had the opportunity to ask before” said Ahila
Liz Sewell, Belina Consulting Director and Founder of GRoW, said “The work that Yoga, Ahila and the Empowering Tamil Women team are doing in Croydon is invaluable. Engaging with people in the right way to help them understand they have talents and skills is the first step to improving their confidence, motivation and self esteem. This ground work is absolutely paramount to helping people prepare for employment and we are delighted to partner with such a great organisation that recognises the importance of providing this type of support and realising that it is central to improving people’s employability. We look forward to continuing our work together and to help support more local Tamil women into suitable employment”.
Find out how the GRoW Programme helps women get ready for work here
This GRoW project is funded by the European Social Fund and Building Better Opportunities.