12 September 2017

‘Walking for Purpose has helped me improve my health and given me the skills to get job interviews. I still need to improve my general appearance and have the chance to wear a suit so I can make a better impression on a prospective employer’.

This is the experience of Michael who has been attending a job club with a difference called Walking for Purpose.

In a new partnership with local charity Suit Works, Michael and his fellow job seeker, Tim, will receive a free makeover.

The scheme, run by Sheffield City Council and various voluntary sector partners, offers those who are looking for work the opportunity to gain valuable skills and training while being active with a gentle walk.

A participant meets friendly staff at a local venue and walk with them to different training providers, employers or a workshop.

The founder of Suit Works, Vanda Kewley, has also enlisted the free services of traditional barbers, Rapscallion.

Vanda said: “We have found that giving people a good quality shirt, tie and shoes to attend their interview can increase their self-esteem and self-respect. This can often improve their chances of getting a job. I am really excited to have persuaded Rapscallion to style the men’s hair. We hope the transformation will help Michael and Tim towards a better future and look forward to working with Walking for Purpose team in the future.”

Councillor Mary Lea, cabinet member for culture, parks and leisure at Sheffield City Council, said: “Walking for Purpose is all about boosting the confidence of those looking for work. We already know from independent research, undertaken by Sheffield Hallam University that previous participants already see the scheme as being like VIP treatment. This makeover can only encourage more people to take part in future schemes and help reduce unemployment in the city. I would like to thank Vanda and her team for their support and I look forward to seeing the before and after photos of Michael and Tim.”

Walking for Purpose was launched in July after a successful pilot scheme. An evaluation carried out by Sheffield Hallam University concluded that: “The combination of the different elements of the project- the led walks, business insight visits, masterclasses and the atmosphere was a unique combination and one which for these unemployed people, made a real difference.”

In July this year the council received funding from the Department of Transport to run the scheme for a further three years.

The makeover comes at the end of the first ten-week course. There will be further walks and anyone who is unemployed is welcome to attend. To find out more call 0114 2734266 or visit the website here.