INDEPENDENT, ACCESSIBLE AND PERSONALISED
Clean Slate believes almost anyone can work and that anyone willing able to should have the opportunity to do so. We offer all jobseekers the opportunity to see how much they have to offer and, whenever we can, we provide them with paid work experience where seeing is believing. The practical support our peer advisers provide ensures even the most vulnerable people feel at home with Clean Slate while our structured 7 Signs Training helps jobseekers of all backgrounds see how much they have to offer, how to present it to employers and ways to grow their own luck.
Everyone at some point is looking for a clean slate. Whether putting life’s setbacks behind us or hunting for a new job, we all find ourselves at a crossroads. ‘It’s time,’ we say. Work then becomes either a constant to help us through or a key feature of that change. Founded in 2006 by a former managing director of The Big Issue, Clean Slate has engaged over 2,000 unemployed or under-employed people and provided paid work to over 300. We operate in the West of England and London and remain independent of landlords and authorities. We offer practical help that fits around individuals’ needs and personal goals, confidence-building training and paid work.
The founder’s aim was to ‘re-activate’ people from groups labelled unemployable. Clean Slate engages anyone facing barriers to employment. We start with their aspirations and use them to build their confidence to think about work but then also their health, housing or integration within the community. Anyone who wants to improve their chances in the jobs market can attend but the Clean Slate programme has even been effective for people with histories of mental ill-health, substance misuse, homelessness, offending, or as refugees. Recently, we have partnered with Children’s Centres, adapting courses to fit around the time constraints of busy parents.
Our peer advisers, all completers of our structured 7 Signs training, ensure we are accessible to jobseekers. They speak the same language and demonstrate Clean Slate ‘walks the walk’. Users come with their own priorities and we engage with these but encourage participation in a structured job preparation programme.
SEVEN SIGNS TRAINING
- We believe a CV is the last thing jobseekers need…
- 7 Signs Training activates them as ‘can do’ jobseekers before they devise their CV
- Jobseekers see what is required by employers through role play and uncover their skills and qualities through peer review workshops
- Trainees leave confident and motivated with a clear idea of what success looks like
- They know how to present themselves (looking forward, not backward) in a CV and at interview. (CV and interview training is not included in the course as it is often available elsewhere but can be followed up at drop-in sessions with peer advisers)
- In 2016, I’m Ready – 7 Signs that show you’re right for the job, a book using storytelling to engage jobseekers was published, describing the 7 Signs process.
Clean Slate also works with under-employed people who are on minimum wage, part-time or insecure contracts. They too often lack confidence and self-belief. In London, Clean Slate designed and helps run a support network, employing peer advisers to support people suffering in-work poverty. Clean Slate developed an SMS job alert system that notifies members when Living Wage jobs come up that match their aspirations.
Jobseekers often present to Clean Slate when confronted with Universal Credit. This is another crossroads and time for some to think about accessing small-scale paid work to help them grow in confidence. Moving to the new system is challenging, so working with our partners at the Social Publishing Project, a money management programme for low income households, we support claimants through the process and help navigate the pitfalls. The endgame is to help them find work and benefit from the ‘better off in work’ elements of UC.