What We Do

At the heart of Smart Works sits a two hour dressing and coaching service for unemployed women with confirmed job interviews.

Each client has a personalised styling session with two Smart Works volunteer stylists, receiving a complete outfit of high quality clothes and accessories for their specific job interview, which are free and hers to keep.  We make sure that our clients look fabulous, feel confident and have everything they need, from a winter coat to a pair of tights.

After her dressing, each client receives a one-to-one interview preparation and coaching session with an experienced HR professional or senior manager. The interview session focuses on increasing the awareness of her own strengths, answering questions effectively and understanding what is expected of her at interview.

Once a client is successful at interview, they are welcomed back for a Second Dressing to receive five additional pieces of clothing. This means that they can start their new role with a capsule working wardrobe which will see them through until their first pay cheque.

When our clients re-enter the workplace, we encourage them to join the Smart Works Network, a membership group of women who have recently returned to work. The Network meet on a monthly basis to further their professional and personal development, helping and motivating one another to succeed.

Over 95% of our clients reported that a visit to Smart Works significantly increased their confidence in succeeding at their job interview.

Case studies

Tina

Following her first appointment at Smart Works, Tina was successful in securing a role as a catering assistant in early October.

I had no smart clothes to wear for interviews and my confidence was at an all time low when I was referred to Smart Works in September.

The dressers at Smart Works made me look super sharp for my interview.  They were so kind and friendly; they knew how to dress me and gave me lots of styling advice.  They really were experts.

The interview techniques and tips I learnt during the interview coaching was also so very useful, and really helped me prepare for my interview properly.

Everyone at Smart Works made me feel worthy.  They really built up my confidence and I would recommend the service to anyone.”

Letitia

Before visiting Smart Works, Letitia had applied for over 30 jobs unsuccessfully in the previous 6 months.  Shortly after her first appointment, Letitia secured a job at Google in their HR department.

 “Being unemployed for a long time and being unsuccessful in so many applications had really impacted negatively on my sense of self worth and confidence.  I didn’t really believe in myself at interview which I am sure showed, and I know I wasn’t instilling confidence in the people interviewing me.

 Coming to Smart Works gave me a real confidence boost, it was a fantastic experience.

 The Interview session was priceless as it gave me so many good tips on how to answer tricky interview questions.  I really appreciated being able to go through my CV and I learnt how to speak about my skills and experience positively.

 I definitely left with a smile, and to top it all off I survived a very hard three hour interview and got the job!”

Demonstrating our impact

At Smart Works, we place a significant emphasis on being able to demonstrate the impact we are having on our clients.  We have an acclaimed Theory of Change that shows how and why our service is able to help clients succeed at interview. We have also refined our service to be able to follow up with as many clients as possible, and get their feedback on the impact of our service on their journey back to employment.

We were recently awarded a Level 2 validation of our work on the Nesta Standards of Evidence, a recognised framework for demonstrating impact.  This means that we capture data that shows positive change, and can prove that correlation.

“The evaluation gives a strong indication that the Smart Works service effectively increases its clients’ chances of getting a job.”

From "Measuring the impact of Smart Works" by The Social Innovation Partnership, May 2016