Philippa Pickavance in the Misha Nonoo shirt
Philippa Pickavance, chairwoman of the Trustees at Smart Works Birmingham, in the Misha Nonoo short

Smart Works Birmingham enjoys record August

Smart Works Birmingham, the charity that provides high-quality work clothes and interview training to help women in need back into work, has enjoyed its busiest month yet since setting up the Birmingham centre three years ago.

A total of 84 women were supported by the charity, which is based in BVSC Building, Digbeth, in August alone, up 58 on the same month last year and up 48 from the previous month.

The charity, whose Royal Patron is HRH The Duchess of Sussex, provides one-to-one interview preparation skills and confidence building, as well as an outfit for interview, plus additional free clothing if they are offered and accept a job.

Philippa Pickavance, chairwoman of the Trustees of Smart Works Birmingham, said: “We are delighted that August was such a successful month for us. Our clients are all referred to us from a number of agencies, such as the Job Centres and training organisations for the unemployed and many have either been out of work for some time or have applied for 30 jobs or more, to no avail.

“Our volunteers provide a first-class service that is really empowering women, and our success rate, which sees 69% of our clients being offered employment within a month of their appointment here, is testament to their excellent work.

“They pulled out all the stops to accommodate the increased interest in our service in August and credit also goes to our only members of staff, managers Jo and Ann, for co-ordinating our service so well.”

The record month at Smart Works Birmingham comes just a week after HRH The Duchess of Sussex, launched ‘The Smart Set’, a capsule collection of key essentials, including jacket and trousers, from Jigsaw, dress from M&S, bag from John Lewis and Partners and a white shirt from designer Misha Nonoo.

Since Smart Works was founded in London six years ago it has helped more than 15,000 women across the UK.

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