Resource boss highlights how charity provided a calming voice for the public through lockdown

Published by Rhys Taylor-Brown on November 2nd 2021, 10:07am

Victoria Sterman is the chief executive of Resource, a London-based charity whose role it is to support unemployed people as they bid to get back into work. As the Covid-19 pandemic began to take hold early last year and unemployment began to soar, Sterman and her team were inundated with demand for Resource’s services.

Rather than buckle under the pressure, however, Resource rose to the challenge and was able to provide the calming influence that service users needed as they feared for their futures. Speaking on The Leaders Council Podcast, Sterman expanded upon the course of action that her organisation took in greater detail.

"The beginning of Covid brought about a real period of panic at the start," Sterman recalled. 

"We could see the predictions of unemployment going sky high and we expected, therefore, that there would be a rush of people needing our services. For many of those we were already helping in their search for a new job, they may have had several interviews lined up and then all of that was put on hold because the businesses they were in touch with no longer knew whether they would be able to hire.

"The consequence was a real onset of fear, and our role was to provide a calming voice for our service users. We made clear that we were there for them, we’d help them navigate through it, and although it was difficult and we only have a small team, we are dedicated, and we made ourselves available."

One of the ways in which Resource, like many other organisations, had to adapt their service provision was through the online route, having previously worked with many of their service users face to face before the onset of the pandemic.

"We moved our services online and it really helped," Sterman explained. “People come to us for help finding a job and so it is very much about helping them find the confidence to apply for work and how to make the best of their skills and show what they are capable of. 

"We had done some online workshops before to help make our service more readily accessible, so transitioning to full online provision as a temporary measure was something we could do quite quickly. The pitfall was familiarising our volunteer staff with how to use the online functions, so we had to take time to teach them and give them the confidence that they needed to keep helping our service users."

As Covid restrictions have eased and many industries including construction, hospitality and social care have found themselves grappling with recruitment issues as the economy has reopened, Sterman described how she had observed a mismatch between demand and the supply of talent in the domestic pool available, with access to foreign labour restricted by post-Brexit immigration rules.

"There are a lot of job vacancies out there now across many sectors, and our role is to help match the right people with the right jobs," she said.

"Now, there are a lot of vacancies in the care sector especially, but the people coming to us do not always have the right skills nor the dedication to work in that industry if there are no roles available in a sector that they’d rather work in. Like it or not, people have preferences, so some simply don’t have the desire to work in the sectors that need fresh talent the most. Others might be open minded about working in care but lack the right skills and qualities."

Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

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Rhys Taylor-Brown
Junior Editor
November 2nd 2021, 10:07am

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