Fitted for Work
We caught up with Jackie Roberts — one of the Referral Officers at Fitted for Work’s offices in Melbourne. They are the first organisation of its kind in Australia with a mission to help women experiencing disadvantage get work, keep work and navigate their world of work. Jackie explains how economic independence can empower women.
Can you describe the type of woman who might benefit from using the service?
We welcome all women (trans and cis) who have experienced disadvantage and are seeking employment. We believe self-definition is at the discretion of the individual, so you won’t be asked to “prove” your eligibility.
We focus specifically on helping women gain employment because work provides financial security as well as a sense of social connectedness, dignity and pride. We believe that when a woman is fitted for work, she is fitted for life.
As well as getting fitted with some new threads, what other services does Fitted for Work offer?
We offer a number of different employment services which help women build their skills and develop their confidence in order to achieve meaningful work. These include Outfitting and our Resume Hub.
Outfitting: Our clients are welcomed by our amazing volunteers and spend approximately one hour trying on a wide range of clothing, shoes and accessories. We will help you choose one or two complete outfits to wear to job interviews that make you feel confident and comfortable. The outfits that you choose are yours to take home and keep, totally free of charge. You are encouraged to come back at the change of seasons, and when you are successful in gaining employment, we would love to have you back for a follow-up appointment to receive a few more outfits to wear to your new job!
Resume Hub: These appointments are taken by one of our experienced volunteers, who will spend up to one hour per appointment with you to help you get your resume up to date, assist you with writing cover letters, work with you to improve your interview skills, or just have a chat about how best to present things like gaps in work history, career changes or lack of experience. You can have several follow up appointments with our Resume Hub, so there’s no need to rush to fit everything into a single appointment.
What is your role, Jackie, and how did you first hear about the service?
I work as a Referral Officer, the first point of contact that women who are referred to us through one of our specific programs. My role is to introduce them to the organisation, talk to them about their current job search situation, and work with them to determine which of our services would be most beneficial to them.
I then follow up with these clients throughout their entire job search process, providing not only follow up appointment bookings, but a friendly voice to encourage and support them on their journey to finding work.
I first heard of Fitted for Work in a social media post from a friend of mine who had been for an Outfitting. She spoke so highly of her experience that I thought it might be worth a shot. I called and made an appointment in June of 2017 and was blown away.
I couldn’t believe I had never heard of them before. The following year, I contacted Fitted for Work to ask about completing a student placement with the organisation, as I was completing my Diploma in Community Services. I was accepted, and not long after I finished my placement, I received a call asking whether I might be interested in working for the organisation. I have now been in this role for almost one year.
Congratulations on many levels, Jackie! It’s wonderfully encouraging to hear how you’ve had first-hand experience benefitting from a unique service such as this. Once women have their outfits and CV ready to go, is there any other advice or upskilling that Fitted for Work provides?
Yes, we run a number of different programs, such as job preparation workshops with our partners at SMAART Recruitment, where our clients can get advice on how to stand out from the crowd direct from a recruiter themselves. Then there are our WomanKind and makeup and presentation workshops.
WomanKind: The Essential Series, a workshop that runs over four consecutive weeks, on a Wednesday morning. You’ll be introduced to other women who are on a similar journey to yourself and will work together to cover topics such as confidence, self-esteem, goal setting, and connecting.
Makeup & Presentation Workshops: Led by a professional makeup artist, these workshops are focused on teaching our clients how to apply natural looking, interview appropriate makeup, and how to present themselves in a professional manner.
If someone lives in regional Victoria, how can they best use the service?
While we are in the process of expanding our Virtual Services, at this stage we only have the resources to see clients at either our Melbourne or Parramatta offices.
I’m sold. And I’m sure a lot of our members will be keen to follow-up with this. How can people get in contact?
If any members of Positive Women would like to make an appointment with Fitted for Work, or have any questions, there are two ways to do that:
- Contact one of Positive Women’s Peer Support workers (Melissa or Heather) at email@example.com or
- Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
I usually try to respond to emails within 2-3 business days. And don’t forget, appointments are 100% free of charge for all members of Positive Women Victoria.
Fitted for Work are located in the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre (210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne). Appointments are generally between 10am–3pm weekdays.