A partnership project which helps women who are not first-language English speakers to develop their skills and confidence for the workplace is also promoting healthy living.
The partnership between national employment and skills organisation Seetec and one of its network of specialists, London-based Twist Partnership, is helping women who struggle to find work.
Twist runs a Women’s Health Group, which actively promotes healthy living among communities where English is not the first language and where genetic factors can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
The collaboration enables the referral of Seetec customers to Twist for specialist support to help them find work.
Shankara Angadi, CEO of Twist, said: “It is surprising and exciting to see what happens when you leave behind conventional ideas about ‘barriers’ to work and with a bit of imagination inspire people to reach their full potential.
“These women, like many of the people we work with, are empowered by improving the lives of others, and we have seen that empowerment drives employability.”
Twist uses the women’s knowledge and understanding of the expectations and attitudes of their own communities to train them as ambassadors for change, making them a valuable asset in improving health and social care.
A beneficiary of this partnership project is single parent Hamida Bibi from Tower Hamlets, who was referred to Seetec from the Job Centre Plus last year.
Having never worked before she struggled with self-confidence – shying away from work-related activities because her English speaking and writing skills were still improving.
Seetec booked Hamida into the Twist Women’s Health Group earlier this year to help her meet other women in her position, and to give her some confidence-building activities.
Hamida said: “I’m very happy with what I’ve learnt and feel much more confident which has helped me to make friends and engage with others in my community.
“I’m also far more health-conscious now and more equipped to look after my family’s wellbeing – it’s been a life changing experience.”
Loreta Gruia, Operational Partnership Manager at Seetec, added: “We help many women with poor English and little or no work experience.
“Through our partnership working with Twist we see their sense of purpose and leadership grow, as well as their confidence and communication skills, which increases their employability.”
Hamida hopes her increased self-assurance and awareness of health and wellbeing will help her to fulfil her dream role of becoming a care worker in her local community.