Over the summer, we completed our first Quarter of supporting clients remotely, having conducted a Needs Assessment to understand what our clients needed during these difficult times.
Moving online was a big shift for Breaking Barriers, as previously our services were structured around face-to-face interactions with our clients at regional delivery centres across London.
However, we have seen an increased demand for our services, and we have found going online to be incredibly successful for clients, volunteers, and staff as we have found new ways of working and fresh opportunities.
“ Breaking Barriers has been a lifesaver for me especially as I have been out of work for 4 years; they have helped me to know how the labour market is and also assisted me with my CV by teaching me how proper CVs and cover letters are written. Breaking Barriers has helped me gain my confidence on how to get a fulfilled employment by teaching me how to apply for a job and how to fill in job applications. The good thing about them is they are able to work in a remote style that fit in to your schedule. Even during the pandemic they still use Zoom to help me.” – Kemi
Between July and September we were able to support an amazing 250 clients. We conducted 72% of our 1-2-1 advice and guidance session through video conferencing, with the remainder held over the phone.
As part of our interactive employment sessions with our clients we are helping them to build essential digital skills such as document sharing and video calling. This will allow them to build the necessary skills for gaining employment and wider integration in the new digital world we find ourselves in.
Some of the adjustments we have made to our support (considering the changes to the working world and our focus on developing digital skills) have included:
- Developing ‘How To’ guides about using Zoom in various languages and helping our clients build skills to use online tools and do their own job searching.
- Running our employment and skills workshops online and inviting clients to join these events in advance to sort out tech issues and minimise disruptions.
- Helping some of our clients with funding applications to buy digital equipment, such as laptops.
We also have had great success with our Education classes, which are up and running remotely. We held 21 education classes between July and September, focussing on smaller class sizes and responding to client needs, including more informal learning environments to practice English.
We have been pleased to see that remote support has also opened up new audiences of volunteers who can help support our work, as we are not restricted by Delivery centres. The support of our volunteers is vital for our delivery and we have been so excited to bring new volunteers onboard.
If you would like to find out more about our support or get in touch with one of our team, please email [email protected]