MP helps back to work charity

Richard Burden opens Smart Works Birmingham.

A new charity coming to Birmingham this summer aims to empower local unemployed women to help them back into the workplace.

Smart Works dresses and trains unemployed women for their job interview. Smart Works helps women to feel confident, look fabulous, succeed at their interview and move on with their lives. With a 60% success rate, this great service (which is completely free) is now coming to the second city with Smart Works Birmingham opening in Northfield in late July 2016.

Each woman who comes to Smart Works Birmingham will receive a complete interview outfit, personally styled for them and theirs to keep, followed by one to one interview training. High quality clothing is donated by other women or retailers, and styling and training is delivered by a skilled volunteer team.

MP for Birmingham Northfield Richard Burden will be officially opening Smart Works Birmingham at a special launch event on Thursday 28th July, 2–4pm. Those looking to find out more about the charity are invited to attend a networking session from 4–5pm.

Smart Works Birmingham is chaired by Rebecca Debenham, Chief Executive of Northfield Community Partnership, a charity which has been working to address the huge gap in the job skills market since the collapse of the MG Rover Group in 2007. She says: “Bringing the Smart Works service to Birmingham will provide a valuable and unique service for women in our city. There are many support services available, but nowhere can they get the focused two-hour service to provide them with the right outfit for their job interview, combined with coaching to give them the confidence to succeed. I was so pleased to find the Smart Works service to plug this gap and am looking forward to bringing it to life in our area.”

Smart Works’ Chief Executive Kate Stephens adds: “We are thrilled to be bringing the Smart Works service to Birmingham. It has long been one of our target areas where we believe our service can have most impact and help us achieve our vision of helping more women get the job and move on with their lives. Working with the fantastic team at Northfield Community Partnership means we will be able to reach our potential clients quickly, and give them the clothes and the confidence they need to succeed at job interview.”

Patrons of Smart Works include actress, writer and producer Jennifer Saunders; one of the UK’s top fashion designers Betty Jackson and CEO of fashion giant Whistles Jane Shepherdson. This year, across the UK Smart Works will dress and train more than 3000 women. In 2015, over one in two of those we were able to contact got the job. A visit to Smart Works can change the course of a woman’s life.

To find out more about Smart Works Birmingham including how you can get involved as a referral partner, volunteer, corporate partner or to donate visit or email