Women seeking advice and encouragement to take the plunge back into the workforce will soon have the support from Dress for Success, a not-for-profit organisation opening its doors at 7 Market Street, Napier, in a few months’ time.
Dress for Success Hawke’s Bay will assist women who may not have had the opportunities to enter into or return to the workforce by providing a wrap-around service helping them to feel more confident and prepared for job interviews and employment.
Services will include one-on-one consultations with a trained volunteer stylist, providing a complete interview outfit, make-up, jewellery, styling and valuable job interview tips. The organisation also offers access to programmes and resources including ‘mentoring ‘, that will enhance job-seeking opportunities.
Dress for Success was established in New York in 1997 and now has 120 affiliates worldwide. Hawke’s Bay will be the eighth affiliate in New Zealand, joining Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch.
Dress for Success Hawke’s Bay Founder, Jo Jacobson, a Business Innovation and Development Consultant, says her desire to start a Hawke’s Bay affiliate stemmed from intending to volunteer at her local Dress for Success while she was in between work contracts, only to discover there wasn’t one in the Bay.
“I loved the ethos and everything the organisation stood for, so I decided to take a leap of faith and start the process with Dress for Success WorldWide to see if I could establish one here,” Jo says.
“A lot of work has gone into the business case and making connections with local organisations so it is great to see it finally coming to fruition.
“Our organisation’s mission is to empower local wāhine to achieve economic independence and in turn, positively impact outcomes for their whānau.”
With the prevalence of COVID-19 changing the business landscape, Jo says in addition to on-site services, Dress for Success Hawke’s Bay will take their dressing and evidenced based skills development and mentoring programs directly to those who need it most.
“We will offer programs to women and youth already engaged in community programs, such as LIFT Social Enterprise Services, Youth Trade Training, Youth Justice, Job Seekers, or are part of a community group such as Women’s Refuge, the Social Development Hub, and education focused facilities such as EIT amongst others.
“By connecting with community groups established in the Bay we will strengthen each other’s mahi.”
Once a client has secured a job, she is eligible for a second dressing providing three to five ‘mix and match’ outfits to cover a working week, long-term career support, mentoring and workshops to help her remain and progress in the workforce.
If a client is not successful in securing a job, she will stay in the Dress for Success whanau and be supported to continue searching for employment and attaining the right skills required for the job.
Dress for Success Hawke’s Bay are still looking for volunteers to help with styling and mentoring, as well as donations of gently worn or even new clothes that have sat in the back of people’s wardrobes – possibly forgotten about!
Providing all goes to plan and COVID-19 doesn’t slow up the process, the doors will open to Dress for Success Hawke’s Bay on Thursday, 1 July. Appointments are by referral only.
For more information on Dress for Success, you can visit their website https://hawkesbay.dressforsuccess.org/
23 February 2021
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