“After 20 years of being out of work, Volition helped me turn my life around”

We Spoke to a service user at Volition charity, who told us how they helped her to turn their life around

Volition is a charity running in both Manchester and Salford Cathedral, aiming to help people get back to work.

They offer a range of training and volunteering options to help people build employment skills and find a job that’s suitable for them.

However, it’s not like any employability charity, as they definitely do things differently here.

The charity focusses on the wellbeing of their clients, with beekeeping, gardening, photography, ceramics and art courses to help people to ‘reconnect’ and ‘find their feet again.

We spoke to Safeena who went through the programme herself to find a job.

“We want people to take their time and come out of their shells here, to reconnect and get involved in society again,” she explained.

“We’re a really diverse group here. We work with everyone including people who are long term unemployed, those from all religions or none, asylum seekers – anybody who needs us. It’s more important than ever to help people get back into work at the moment.

“Those attending the course will have their travel paid for and their benefits will not be affected. The volunteering opportunities can also be structured around your life, at no cost to you.”

Volition offers a ten-week employability course, along with opportunities to get involved with beekeeping, gardening, photography, ceramics and art. They work with around 150 people each year, or about 12 on each round of the programme. Volition has been going for nearly ten years now.

Safeena continued: “One day of each week is spent volunteering and another will be learning new skills. Volunteering looks great on a CV. We’ve got a lot of varied volunteering opportunities here to try and suit anybody who comes.

“I went through the programme in February to pick up some new skills, and now I’ve got a job. I had been unemployed for nearly 20 years and this programme helped me learn the confidence to be myself, to get used to working as part team, and to help encourage other people and be a team player. I picked up a load of useful IT skills and that got my foot in the door when looking for work.

“It’s a very diverse group. You have to be accepting of others at Volition and it teaches us all to get along and work along with shared values. It taught me to give my time to people and to take the feedback people had to offer.

“I don’t think there’s enough known about the program – but we’re here for anybody who needs it.”

Best of all, Volition offers a ‘no-goodbye’ policy, which means anyone who has been through the programme can still keep in touch and the team can still help them applying for jobs.

If people want to come back to update their CV, or do a bit more volunteering, get a reference or just want to get back involved, they are more than welcome.

Safeena said: “It really is beneficial. I felt it really did help me. The staff are very supportive, gently encouraging and will give pointers to help people in the right direction.

“John Emsley, from Manchester College is the tutor at the charity who helps attendees, not only teaching them employability skills but also helping people access other support they need too.”

If you or somebody you know would like to get involved with the programme, ask at your local job centre or head to the Volition website www.volitioncommunity.org


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