Smart Works Newcastle is hiring a new Chair

We are delighted to launch the search for a new Chair of Smart Works Newcastle.   The information below tells you a bit more about our Charity, the role and what we are looking for in a new Chair.

An introduction to Smart Works – the UK Charity

Smart Works dresses and coaches unemployed women for their job interview. We empower each woman by giving her the clothes and the confidence she needs to succeed. After visiting Smart Works, 60% secure a job within a month, gaining financial independence and transforming their lives.

We help some of the most vulnerable women in society, who are referred to us from job centres, prisons, refuges, mental health charities and many other support services. The women we see want a job but lack the confidence to succeed at interview. Half our clients have been rejected from 30+ jobs, destroying self-esteem and creating a cycle of hopelessness and despair.

From the moment she walks through our door, each woman is welcomed into our safe space.  Her needs are put first. The most important thing that Smart Works does is listen and tailor the experience to each woman’s needs.   Our role is to listen, and ensure every woman leaves us feeling more confident and prepared to succeed at their interview.

Every woman has a two-hour appointment to help her prepare for her interview and our experienced dressers and interview coaches tailor the session to the needs of each woman and  ensure she leaves with a complete outfit of high-quality clothes to wear at interview and a greater level of self-belief than when she arrived.  It is important to say that they are the clothes are those that she chooses – that suit her style and personality.

Once a woman gets the job, we offer a ‘Second Dressing’ for enough clothing to last until her first pay cheque.

What does the role of Chair involve? 

The Chair provides direction to the Board of Trustees of Smart Works Newcastle, who, collectively, have responsibility for the regional operations, staffing, volunteers and fundraising for the charity. We have a small team of employees (currently 1.6 headcount) and approximately 40 volunteers. The Chair will work with and inspire everyone involved and demonstrate empathy with those we seek to support with our service.

You will be an ambassador and public face of Smart Works Newcastle, providing strategic leadership  to our great Board of Trustees, ensuring sound financial management and, of course, ensuring that through effective governance we fulfil our legal duties.

We are looking for someone who is hands-on and with the time and commitment to effectively undertake this role in a charity still in its early years of operation.

Whilst we are an independently registered charity, you will work closely with our London-based HQ (who act as the umbrella organisation providing support to the regional centres) and well as with other Trustees and chairs from across the Smart Works Network.

Who are we looking for?

We want to hear from you if you share our values and have the skills and experience to help us deliver our ambitious strategy to extend our reach – not just regionally but to ensure that we truly provide an inclusive service to all women in the communities we serve.

You will need time and passion to lead our Smart Works operation in the North East.  The time investment you make will be paid back in full, and more, by witnessing the transformation of women we support with our service.

We expect our new Chair will be able to demonstrate:

  • Leadership skills gained through career or voluntary work including experience of chairing, committee or trustee work,
  • a strong network of contacts across the North East,
  • an understanding of the challenge of fundraising in the region
  • that you share the Smart Works vision.
  • Commitment to team working
  • Experience of and commitment to diversity of thought

We would really love to increase the diversity of our board and are particularly interested to hear from candidates from diverse or minority backgrounds.


View our full information pack with Job description  Smart-Works-Newcastle-Chair-Pack

If you would like an informal chat with Jane Hartley, our current chair or Helen Sinclair , our vice-chair– then please email:  [email protected] or [email protected]

To apply

Please  send an email  with your CV and a covering note setting out why you are interested in the role, setting out the experience and skills you feel you bring and how you meet the role criteria to [email protected].

We  will  also set up a time for you to speak with one of the Smart Works Newcastle Trustees to give you a chance to find out more about us as well as answer any initial questions

We anticipate Initial conversations will take place in late  December or early January and formal interviews early in the new year.  Our aim is to approve the appointment of a new Chair at our February Board meeting.

Application deadline: Tuesday, 5 January, 2021 – 12:00