Helping people thrive

Tower Hamlets Giving – A new approach to employability

April 2019

Over February and March, EECF ran Phase Two of the Tower Hamlets Giving pilot programme, which has been helping local young people to become “work ready” by developing essential soft skills like drive, self-awareness, resilience, and receptivity to improve their overall communication skills. As business owners often say, “It is all about the soft skills and knowing how to communicate with others in the work place, which is always the biggest challenge”.

With our learning from Phase 1 of the pilot, Phase 2 was more like a “Work Ready Boot Camp” and we provided each participant with a work placement tailored to their personal vision of the sector and type of work they want to pursue in their career. This approach worked well.
Many local young people lack self-confidence, and so the pilot addressed this throughout the entire programme. A trainer working with the young people on the Tower Hamlets Giving pilot, Dermot O’Brien, said: “I am teaching them the psychology of their success which allows them to change a negative belief into a positive belief. They start seeing themselves changing over a few days. The skill takes time to learn but to start to have the attitude that you will and can learn this, they have to trust the process and trust me. I am training them to believe in themselves”.
One of the participants said, “I have had anxiety for 8 years and I could not talk to people or be around people, I would always get anxious and nervous. I joined the pilot and it taught me so many soft skills and built my confidence. Now I feel like I can talk to hundreds of people, this will stay with me forever”.

Another participant said: “This pilot really did it for me, one day I want to run my own health and wellness business. I learnt so much about how to put myself forward in a professional manner. They gave me a work placement in my chosen sector, and I secured a full-time job which is amazing”. 

Working to address the complex challenges that local young people face when starting on their career journey is not easy and without the support of our corporate partners we would not have been able to take these young people on a journey into becoming work ready.

Thank you to Ballymore, Boston Consulting Group, Canary Wharf Group, Clearstream, Hermes, JP Morgan and Valero for hosting the career training days. 

The pilot programme was followed by a one-week work placement and we would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who participated and gave our young people this invaluable opportunity.  These include Ballymore, Better Leisure, Bouygues Construction, Canary Wharf Group, Poplar Harca, Kemp Little and Valero. 

The pilot has gone so well that we want to roll it out on a larger scale. If you would like to get involved, please call 0207 345 4444 for more information.

Ben Parker, Senior Vice President, Clearstream
It was a pleasure hosting so many enthusiastic young people who really want to learn and are receptive about how to start their careers. I was very impressed by how they dealt with the difficult interview sessions and how well they accepted feedback. The questions they asked about our company and industry were well considered and, in some cases, quite challenging. Everyone involved from Clearstream felt it was a positive and very worthwhile day. We got as much out of it as the young people”.