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Supporting people into work during the coronavirus outbreak

How do you help people get work during the lockdown? Phil Miles talks through the association’s approach – from tips on video interviews, to identifying supermarkets and others hiring during the crisis

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Preparing people for video job interviews is one strategy Clarion uses (picture: Getty)
Preparing people for video job interviews is one strategy Clarion uses (picture: Getty)
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Supporting people into work during the coronavirus outbreak – Phil Miles shares what @ClarionFutures has been doing #ukhousing

“Since lockdown began, we’ve supported more than 150 people into work, almost two-thirds of whom have taken up roles directly linked to the COVID-19 crisis,” says Phil Miles from @ClarionFutures #ukhousing

“Even in an economic crisis there are jobs out there, and we’ll continue to do all we can to support our residents into work and transform lives and communities,” says Phil Miles, director of @ClarionFutures #ukhousing

During the coronavirus outbreak, our lives have changed in ways we could never have imagined.

With the Bank of England predicting the deepest recession on record and a major increase in unemployment, it would be easy to assume that the likelihood of finding a job during the pandemic would be limited.

However, for those committed to finding work and with the right support in place, there are opportunities out there.

Each year, we support thousands of people into work through Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group. Our dedicated national team provides assistance with everything from vocational training and work placements to apprenticeships, help with travel and childcare costs, and business start-up support.

“Being interviewed via video rather than face to face presents a whole new set of challenges, so we’ve created guidance so that people are confident with the format and able to present themselves in the best possible way”

When lockdown began, we moved quickly to a remote service, using technology to ensure we could carry on during the coronavirus outbreak, with support provided over the phone or online rather than face to face. As well as individual sessions, we’re running virtual training courses and job clubs, which aren’t just about finding work, but are also about sharing experiences and facilitating social interaction for those in isolation.


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We’ve always offered online training courses to help residents improve their employment prospects, but we’ve seen a significant increase in the number of people taking part since restrictions on movement were imposed. Courses that would normally be classroom-based have been adapted and we’re now offering dozens of online courses covering subjects including retail, construction and digital skills.

“Since lockdown began, we’ve supported more than 150 people into work, almost two-thirds of whom have taken up roles directly linked to the COVID-19 crisis”

Our employment advisors are now working from home and have been exploring new referral pathways. We’ve been using our local connections to engage with community support groups and food banks to ensure that people are aware of the support available, and we have seen an influx of referrals from teams across Clarion as we strive to ensure our residents have access to all the advice and guidance they need.

An ever-changing external environment has meant that we’ve had to adapt at pace to make sure people have the best possible chance of success in our ‘new normal’. Being interviewed via video rather than face to face, for example, presents a whole new set of challenges, so we’ve created guidance so that people are confident with the format and able to present themselves in the best possible way.

Some sectors are experiencing growth so we’ve shifted our focus, recruiting for roles such as supermarket delivery and in-store roles, food production and cleaning. We’ve also been working closely with partners in the NHS and the Department for Work and Pensions to help recruit people to staff the 111 call centre and deal with the high volume of new Universal Credit claims.

Since lockdown began, we’ve supported more than 150 people into work, almost two-thirds of whom have taken up roles directly linked to the COVID-19 crisis. This includes Linna, who was long-term unemployed and unsure where to turn for help. Having attended an introductory training course, Linna received our support to improve her CV, search for job opportunities and prepare for interviews, which resulted in her appointment as a security officer for G4S, one of the world’s leading security companies, taking up a position at a London hospital last month.

It’s stories like this that make me proud to work for Clarion. Even in an economic crisis there are jobs out there, and we’ll continue to do all we can to support our residents into work and transform lives and communities.

Phil Miles, director, Clarion Futures

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