Smart Works is a community dedicated to supporting and empowering women in their professional pursuits. To achieve this, we want to increase participation from those with lived experience of unemployment and the Smart Works service, so that their perspective, knowledge and feedback directly inform our strategy and decision making.

Smart Works Client Advisory Group

In September 2021, we launched our first ever Client Advisory Group as part of our mission to ensure the voices of our clients always inform our decision making.

The Client Advisory Group is made up of 10 former clients, who have experienced the Smart Works service and want to share their ideas on how we can improve and develop. The Group meets quarterly with the Chief Executive to discuss strategic topics and act as a key touchstone in decision making, with learnings shared directly at the Smart Works Charity Trustee meetings and across the charity.

To date, the Group has provided rich insight into how we can reach more women, which partners we should work with, what to consider when opening new centres and how to best involve clients in our future work.

Smart Works Client Champion Programme

In June 2023 we launched a new initiative, where former clients were appointed as Client Champions and became spokespeople for the charity.

Our Client Champions take part in a range of opportunities that support the charity, including outreach in their local community, media engagement and speaking at events. This will help us to reach more women and ensure that clients are always at the forefront of our work.

You can read more about the work of our Client Champions here.

The Smart Works Unemployment Index

In January 2023, we launched the first Smart Works Unemployment Index.

The Index is a robust study examining unemployment issues affecting our clients across the UK. It covers three areas: experiencing unemployment, experiences of the interview process, and the meaning of having a job.

The aim of the Index is to ensure that our clients’ voices are heard by those who have the power and means to create a better employment journey for women in the UK.

Find out more about the Smart Works Unemployment Index here.

National Client Events

In November 2023, Smart Works proudly hosted our first ever UK-wide Client Event. To celebrate 10 years of supporting women into work, we invited all former clients in our community to join us for a virtual in-conversation event with CEO Kate Stephens and special guest Michelle Ackerley, Smart Works Greater Manchester Ambassador.

We heard what Smart Works has meant to them, insight we will use to inform our decision-making. The event served as a powerful moment of connection and inspiration, with our clients at the heart, and we look forward to holding similar events in the future.

Read more about the event here.

Smart Works continues to explore additional ways to consult clients in our decision making. This work remains an integral aspect of our Three Year Plan and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, ensuring that as we grow, we always listen to and amplify the voices of our clients.