We dealt with the subject of volunteering in one of the most rewarding projects we have worked on. Work has such a powerful effect on the structure of our lives and play an important part in the fabric of society.
One particular project we worked on is a reminder of the important role that work plays in all of our lives and this initiative in Wales is aimed at improving opportunities for the long term unemployed through volunteering and participation in community schemes. The project is called QWEST (Quality Work Employability and Skills Training) and is a Welsh Assembly and European Social Fund backed project – working in partnership with the University of Wales, Newport.
Bleanau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen are some of the hardest hit and most economically deprived areas in Europe. The film needed to show the real people stories behind such an initiative who have participated in the scheme.
The areas of Wales in which QWEST is focused have suffered enormously due to the decline of manufacturing and heavy industry in the area and jobs are few and far between. As Sandra illustrates in the film, being unemployed for such a long time not only shatters your confidence and self-esteem, but your sense of well being and structure in life is also lost. It’s not a nice position to be in. Initiatives like QWEST, that focus on volunteering, developing skills and boosting confidence and self-esteem are vital in turning these communities round.
Work is so inter-weaved into our lives that to look at work and home in isolation is a tricky business and are rarely two completely separate issues. This is why when looking at an organisation’s employer brand, how they approach the people in the organisation and the values they represent need to be considered in the wider context.
When interviewing the people for the QWEST film it was impossible not to feel moved by the challenges they face and the way they have overcome these challenges through inner drive and determination. The longer they are unemployed the more their confidence and self-esteem will take a knock and the support networks, skills training and personal development programmes offered by employers are likely to have a different emphasis when more jobs do become available. It will be interesting to see how progressive employers are managing the changing nature of candidates and think about this sensitively in the context of the current labour market and economic climate.
You can view the 10 minute film shown at the QWEST launch below –