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The road to employment

17 April 2008

The road to employment

While national statistics boast record rates of employment plenty of people still find it tough getting back into the workforce. 

Downtown Community Ministry Director Stephanie McIntyre says, “We have clients at DCM that have significant skills, useful in a range of jobs, but they are limited by a lack of confidence in finding work and a belief that they are not good enough.”

Many clients face labels of being dishonest and unreliable and because some have prior criminal records most get tarnished with the same brush.

“Because we believe that clients can manage, or even thrive, in paid work at Downtown Community Ministry we have a practice of employing those pursuing work opportunities. Often a part time job here is an important step towards work elsewhere,” she says.

“Our experience has been mixed, with occasional setbacks, but to see some people successfully maintain employment here or at other agencies is a real pleasure to see.”

The right employer will create a mix between appropriate workplace requirements and an understanding of how difficult it is to transition back into paid employment. 

“Without knowing the background of the individual it’s easy to assume they have always had an addiction or criminal background but it’s simply not true. For some, there was a time when they had a job and they were what society would call ‘successful’. But the road back to that place is proving to be harder than the fall.”

DCM’s Senior Social Worker Dougal Speir is currently leading a project designed to place clients into appropriate workplaces.


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