This time last year we packed the main hall in Blackburne House with enthusiastic people, it was a roasting hot day too. How times have changed.
Thankfully, the enthusiasm of our partners and team hasn’t changed. We’ve had a fantastic 12 months since then, Tracy Fishwick was honoured with an OBE and Lauren became a fully qualified yogi, but I won’t lie, the last 14 weeks have been a challenge, but we’ve learnt so much and we’re a stronger team for it. I’m proud of Team TLC’s creativity, commitment and kindness. We’ve Team’d, Zoom’d, emailed, streamed, phoned and got all retro by sending cards in the post. We even sent 60 ‘hugs in the post’ with chocolate and other goodies, to people we were supporting before lockdown, the response to such a relatively small gesture was immense. What’s worked best? All of it, people respond differently, it’s our job to open as many communication channels as possible.
Because of the huge turmoil we’ve all been experiencing, we thought Employability Day should be about how people are feeling about their employment future. The feedback came from people we’d already helped and are in work, some had lost their jobs due to C-19 or are furloughed and others were ready to apply for jobs when the lockdown was imposed and since then we’ve been focussing on wellbeing and keeping in touch.
People are anxious. Covid-19 has affected people's motivation and knocked a few people of their stride to say the least; if you were already finding navigating the jobs market tough, now feels very scary for some. Working from home is a daunting prospect for many, unemployed people can experience loneliness and having a job is part and parcel of having healthy social connections. Health is a massive concern, having existing medical conditions, waiting for doctor’s advice, being on disability related benefits, mental health ups and downs, finding it hard to get back into a physical routine for work. There are concerns about whether this means ‘starting from scratch all over again’, ‘will my job exist’, ‘will I have to look at a different sector all together’, ‘there’ll be more competition for less jobs’ and ‘is anyone recruiting at all’?? This is all without the added (and understandable, believe me I’m with ya on this!) worry about having bushy hair at an interview!!
What does this tell us about how we need to work? reflecting on this question I’m drawn back to the 3 pillars that underpin all we do – and it seems these stand us in good stead:
We’ll keep on being unflaggingly determined to influence and see change, now more than ever, it’s not only ‘what’ we do, it’s ‘how’ we do it that matters.
Never underestimate the strength of kindness. Trust between us, all of us, brings about genuine change in belief, possibility, ensuring we all thrive.
We’ll keep looking after one another so we can look after others. Carve time out to chat over a brew, listen to each other’s worries, watch for signs that people are struggling. People first and the rest follows!