Getting on that first rung of the career ladder is often the toughest career challenge we face. But one charity is working to change this for thousands of women
Words by Rosie Benson
Anyone who’s ever tried to find a job knows that searching for openings is pretty much a full-time job in itself – cue evenings trawling tedious job sites and endlessly sprucing up your LinkedIn profile.
The challenges facing young job-seekers – a lack of contacts, enough relevant experience, and constructive feedback to mention just a few – are magnified when combined with the lack of a safety net, like a supportive family, stable accommodation and financial security.
Recent research shows that nearly 300,000 young women are shut out of the job market due to a lack of support. While the pay gap is narrowing for millennials it still widens significantly after women take time out of work to have children. The lack of affordable childcare in the UK means that young mothers in particular struggle to re-enter the UK workplace.
The Young Women’s Trust is a charity aiming to change all that. Its the only charity in the UK that solely focuses on women aged 16-30 struggling to live on low, or no pay and who are at risk of being trapped in poverty. It helps get women into work through one-to-one coaching, help with CV writing and job applications, and also runs national campaigns to highlight areas where governmental support for women in low or no income is falling short.
Jenny Mullinder, 25, used the charity’s ‘Work It Out’ coaching service to get herself back into work. She now sits on the charity’s advisory panel:
‘Before I had coaching I was feeling really lost and stuck. My Young Women’s Trust coach helped me to think about what I am passionate about and what was important to me. I was able to use that to go forward and take the next step in my life. Its helped me land jobs in the youth sector and I do volunteering too. Using the coaching service was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.’
Isis Mason, (below, top left) also used the Young Women’s Trust ‘Work It Out’ service after hearing about it through Twitter:
‘I had a household to run and a child to care for and was struggling to make ends meet, my prospects didn’t look good at all,’ she says. ‘I felt like a failure and had no one to turn to. But my Young Women’s Trust coach was fully flexible and ever supportive of me. We’d arrange to talk after I had tucked my daughter into bed, and spend the evening focusing on me, my achievements, and where I wanted to go in life. She gave me practical ways to deal with anxiety and overcome the feeling that I wasn’t good enough. By the time my coaching had come to an end, my confidence was fully restored and I secured part-time employment started the process of applying for postgraduate study.’
On February 21st, the Young Women’s Trust will hold their first awards ceremony, to celebrate women who have overcome barriers to succeed in their lives. They want to highlight the fact that getting a foot in the door is often the biggest hurdle for young women. HRH Princess Alexandra (cousin to the Queen) will be in attendance to present awards to the winners.
To find out more about the Young Women’s Trust and how they could help you visit their website here.