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Businesses help homeless men take next step into work

An event organised by East Yorkshire clinical hypnotherapist Sheila Granger to help a group of homeless men get ready to step back into the world of work is already paying dividends.

Renowned hypnotherapist Sheila, who trains fellow practitioners around the world, collaborated with Hull-based charity Emmaus and a number of local businesspeople to hold a workshop at Cave Castle on January 28 to help prepare a group of 10 formerly homeless men for the next stage of their journey into employment.

As a result, one local business has already offered a work placement and it is hoped other businesses will also come forward to give the men vital work experience to add to their CVs.

Sheila, who has helped people around the world to develop their confidence and banish their fears and organised the event simply to support her community, said: “The day was a huge success in all sorts of ways. The guys enjoyed a physical makeover with a haircut, new clothes and a photoshoot. Plus they received advice on CVs, job applications and interviews, I gave a session on how to access their confidence and self-belief, and they heard an inspiring talk from a successful local businessman who was once homeless.

“One business, Elliott Hygiene Ltd, has already contacted me with an offer of work experience, and we hope more will follow.”

Finding work is a challenge for many people, especially those who are or who have recently been homeless, and businessman Jason Kay, co-director of The Marketplace business based in Barton, knows all about this struggle. “I wanted to share my experience to help show others that being positive and working hard whatever your circumstances, will pay off,” he said. “If you’ve spent a long time in a non-working environment it can be hard to see there are other options, but these people have already made the first jump by working with Emmaus and they are ready now for the next leap.”

Hull and Goole-based recruitment agency Yorkshire Staffing Services were on hand at the workshop with practical advice for job hunting and interviews. Lana Grisina, Hull branch manager, said: “We want to help break down the barriers that can prevent people getting into work. These people clearly have a lot to give and with a bit of assistance from recruitment agencies like ourselves with things such as CVs and interview skills, I really believe employers will give them the chance they deserve.”

Jean Palmer, from Hessle-based bathroom retailer VictoriaPlum.com, also spoke at the event. She said: “Recruitment is largely about selling yourself. People who have been homeless or out of work for a long time often don’t have much experience of interviews and will feel out of their comfort zone. This workshop was a great opportunity to give this group some useful advice and they really seemed to take it on board.”

The group of men, whose skills range from warehousing to butchery and furniture restoration, also enjoyed a makeover courtesy of stylists from Alexander Hair and Beauty, clothes from Squared Clothing in Hull, and professional photos to use on their online profiles and job applications thanks to Andy Crozier of Insight Photography.

At the end of the workshop, the participants were buzzing with positivity about the day, and their futures. Dale Watts, 35, who is originally from Rotherham and has been with Emmaus for the past eight months, said: “I’m feeling a lot more confident now about being able to do something with my life. I could definitely relate to Jason, and the job advice was really helpful.”

Lee Thompson, 37, from Leeds, has been living in Hull since 2012 and has spent the past three months with Emmaus. He said: “I love working with Emmaus, it gives me a reason to get up in the morning. I’ve trained to be a PAT tester and I’d love to start my own business in that.

“This event has been amazing, I could really identify with what Jason was saying. It’s all about self-belief and confidence, and I’m feeling really confident now.”

The charity Emmaus supports formerly homeless people by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to get back on their feet again. For many who ever experience homelessness one of the biggest obstacles they must overcome is a loss of self-esteem. Emmaus provides people with a stable home and the opportunity to regain their self-worth, making a real contribution to their community.

Emmaus operations manager Alex Slater said: “I’d like to say a big thanks to Sheila for organising the event. Everybody involved really enjoyed the day, and we are overwhelmed by the support we are receiving from the local business community.

“Work experience is incredibly valuable for our companions, and we would welcome approaches from any business people who would be willing to offer work experience in roles that may suit their skillsets.”

Any local businesses that would be willing to offer work experience or would like to see the companions’ CVs are asked to contact training and development leader Kelly Meacock at Emmaus by emailing kellylouise@emmaushull.org.uk or ringing 07539 029298.

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