‘Seeing is Believing’ visit sheds light on Bristol business’s role in supporting the unemployed

December 11, 2015

Some of Bristol’s top employers have taken part in a day-long  ‘Seeing is Believing’ visit designed to show them first-hand the key role businesses in the city can play to support people who face barriers into employment.

Creating meaningful employment is one of the most significant ways that businesses contribute to the livelihoods of individuals and communities and the day put what is happening in Bristol in the spotlight.

The visit was led by Mitie group finance director Suzanne Baxter and included senior business figures from law firms Bond Dickinson and Clarke Wilmott, Imperial Tobacco, catering equipment firm Nisbetts and property agents JLL.

The day started at law firm DAC Beachcroft’s office with an overview by Bristol City Council of the employment landscape in Bristol.

This was followed by a visit to an Elim Housing supported housing scheme to meet residents and take part in a workshop that helps build the skills and confidence needed to gain and sustain employment. From there, delegates met service users at Bristol Drugs Project.

The day culminated at accountants KPMG with perspectives from people who have found employment with support from Business in the Community’s ‘Ready for Work’ programme and Mitie.

Suzanne Baxter said: “This ‘Seeing is Believing’ visit showcased the fantastic work that Bristol businesses are doing to get people into work and keep them there. These programmes are making a real and sustainable difference to people’s lives.”

Elim Housing Association team leader Andy Herbert added: “It’s been great to be able to show the city’s business community the work we do. Many of our clients have been out of work for a while and they are nervous about what’s expected of them by potential employers – by building up their confidence and working on social skills we find our clients start to regain their self-belief. They can then get ready to take the next steps back into employment.”

He said by partnering with the ‘Ready for Work’ programme, Elim has had access to a tried-and-tested model tailored to people facing multiple barriers to get back into work.

Some 21 clients from Elim Housing have successfully completed the Ready to Work programme in recent years and over two thirds of these individuals have achieved employment as a result.

Delegates will reconvene to share how they will take forward their learning from the day into their own businesses and supply chains.

Established 25 years ago by HRH The Prince of Wales, Seeing is Believing was born from a simple but powerful idea – to close the gap between the boardroom and the community.

Pictured: The Seeing is Believing group in Stokes Croft, led by Raksha Pattni of Business in the Community


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