Team at Europa Worldwide sort out old workwear as part of its "Suits Away" Initiative
Kathryn Greenwood

Member Article

Europa Cuts Ties to help Charities Suit Up

Independent logistics operator Dartford’s Europa Worldwide Group, is launching an innovative new initiative “Suits Away”, to help people secure jobs and make it back into the workplace.

Over the next year, Europa employees across its 11 UK sites will donate professional work wear to Suited & Booted and Smart Works. Both charities provide interview clothes and important training for unemployed men and women on low incomes.

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 1.82 million unemployed people in the UK, between May and July 2015, an increase compared to earlier this year[1].

Europa employs over 500 people across the UK and will host scheduled clothing drives for the charities. Staff are being encouraged to donate suitable clothes, shoes and accessories to those in need of help securing employment.

This year alone, Smart Works will help more than 2,000 women with its services. In 2014, 43 per cent of the women who enlisted the help of the organisation had been unemployed for more than two years. In its first 12 months, Suited and Booted helped 800 men prepare for interviews and now sees over 1,000 clients a year and demand for the charity’s services is huge.

The Suits Away initiative follows Europa’s decision to relax its dress code after the company moved in to its 26,368 square metre Dartford site in May. Not all Europa employees are required to ‘suit up’ for the office.

Andrew Baxter, Managing Director of Europa Worldwide Group, added: “Smart Works and Suited & Booted play an important role in getting people back into employment and we’d like to do all we can to lend our support to such a worthwhile cause. We made the decision to go casual with our dress code when we moved in to Dartford because it’s more reflective of the company we are today. The new site says it all so our dress code doesn’t have to - we’re professional, passionate and confident in who we are as a company and what we have to offer customers. So there’re definitely a few spare suits at home that can be put to good use.”

Georgina Albel, UK Head of Partner Engagement at Smart Works, said: “We’re thrilled to have Europa’s support, particularly at a time of rapid expansion for Smart Works. We help thousands of women to get back in to work and secure a brighter future. More than half the women we help go on to get the job – so it’s vital for our core service that we establish meaningful and long lasting relationships with organisations like Europa, who share our commitment to empowering women. Our ambition within the next three years is to dress and train 10,000 women for interview success from seven centres across the UK.”

Founder of Suited & Booted, Maria Lenn, commented: “Engagement from businesses like Europa is fundamental to the service and support we provide for men looking for work and preparing for interviews. There is huge demand and the men who come to us rely on the generosity and donations of our corporate partners to look the part, feel more confident and find their way back in to work.”

Europa has raised nearly half a million pounds for good causes over the years, such as St John’s Ambulance, Radio Lollipop and the British Dyslexia Association.

Europa’s work with Suited & Booted and Smart Works also follows the company’s Make Your Mark project, launched earlier this year with a school local to its new £30m Dartford site. Sixty students aged 9-11 from The Gateway Primary Academy took part, creating drawings based on how they saw the Europa business.

As well as its successful road freight operation, Europa Worldwide Group also provides specialist air and sea, award-winning warehouse and showfreight services.

[1] ONS - UK Labour Market, September 2015

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Kathryn Greenwood .

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