“It has completely changed my outlook on what I am capable of achieving and how I feel about myself, and I have so much more confidence,” said Charmaine Carr.
Charmaine had been out of work for five years when she took advantage of a new service provided by Ealing Council: WEST (which stands for work, education, support and training).
The free service was set up by the council last year in partnership with the Mayor of London. It aims to provide personalised, intensive support to out-of-work residents to help them find work or training.
WEST started by focusing on the north of the borough in areas with high levels of unemployment: Northolt West End, Northolt Mandeville and Greenford Broadway wards. It also helped unemployed residents in temporary accommodation.
But WEST has recently moved into other areas of the borough, including Hanwell, and the intention is to reach out to Southall and Acton in the near future.
‘I am now working at a care home’
Charmaine was found volunteering placements at a charity shop and the council, which improved her skills and helped her get a job.
The 39-year-old from Ealing said: “I struggled to get work after returning from overseas because of a big gap in employment. I am now working at a care home through the help of WEST. I enjoy helping and caring for people.
“My advisor Syreeta Augustine taught me how to be confident and gave me the tools needed to find work and build my CV. I would highly recommend the WEST project to anyone looking for work or to build your employment skills and training.”
‘I found my first job’
Northolt mum Isha Mahamed, 37, had never been employed before but decided to get a job after raising a family of four children.
She said: “Because of a lack of education, finding work had been difficult for me. I also have learning difficulties which made it hard for me when applying for jobs.
“With the help of my employment adviser I am now working with a local care home part-time with hours that fit into my family routine. I am also currently being supported by WEST to start an English qualification that will help me to improve my basic skills.
“My adviser helped me to build my confidence and gave me the push I needed to believe in myself. I would not have found this job or been able to complete the application form without the help of this service. My adviser also helped me to create a CV and met with me on a weekly basis to help with my job search.
“I would recommend – and I have recommended – WEST to all of my friends.”
Find out more
Regular one-to-ones are run in community centres across the borough, by appointment only. To find out more, call 020 8825 8486 or email WEST@ealing.gov.uk