Ireland’s unemployment rate is declining, resulting in the lowest rate in nearly five years. But while the country is showing signs of exiting the recession, for many, the benefit has yet to be felt. The experience of unemployment remains devastating for individuals, families, businesses, communities, government agencies and society at large.
Set up in 1994 by Paul Mooney and Robin Boles, Jobcare works in Dublin’s inner city, assisting those struggling with the effects of long-term unemployment to overcome the barriers to finding work.
“2014 is a year for Jobcare to celebrate 20 years of good news stories – of individuals finding work, becoming independent, supporting their families, achieving their goals, and having self-esteem and hope restored,” said Paul Mooney, Jobcare’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive. “The unemployment landscape has changed over the years, so it’s important that we keep evaluating our clients’ needs, ensuring our service is relevant and effective.”
This is reflected in Jobcare’s breadth of services, from the transitional work programme for ex-offenders to the networking programme for unemployed professionals and graduates.
“We work with people overcoming addiction or crime for whom working has never been a regular component of their lives. And we work with experienced professionals who have worked all their lives and never expected to deal with the harsh reality of unemployment. We work with each person as an individual with their own story, but each sharing the common experience of unemployment,” Paul explained.
Targeted, practical interventions are important, but they only go part of the way to meeting the needs of the whole person, which is why Jobcare believes that the way services are delivered - the heart behind them - is equally important.
As part of Jobcare’s 20th anniversary celebrations, the team calculated that over 20 years, the Jobcare kitchen has served 298,098 cups of tea and 160,571 coffees!
“It has always been a high value that people are shown God’s love at every point of connection, whether when invited to attend a course, preparing to go for an interview, or through the cup of tea offered when they walk through the door,” Paul said.
“Practically speaking, we show people that there is a safe place where they can be open to community. We see them relax, open-up and allow others to minister healing and break down their barriers to wholeness.”
This approach has proven effective. Even in the current climate, 61% of Jobcare’s Community Employment participants have successfully progressed on to employment or further education. Each of these statistics are, “individuals who find work, achieve their goals and have self-esteem restored.”
Nuala O’Connell is now a company receptionist with Hyundai Ireland, a job she secured while participating in Jobcare’s transitional work programme. “I hadn’t worked since June 2012 and my confidence was low. I wondered where I would fit in and how I would navigate the corporate world.”
After successfully completing Jobcare’s FETAC level 4 Computer Course as well as the Jobseekers Course, Nuala secured a role as receptionist on Jobcare’s Community Employment scheme in October 2013.
“During my time as receptionist and later as PA, I learnt essential networking skills, sat a mock interview and developed my professional online presence. Then, out of the blue, I received a LinkedIn invitation from a recruiter with a job spec attached. He told me he was so impressed by my online profile and asked if he could send me for an interview with Hyundai Cars Ireland. A few days later, I learned I was the new company receptionist! Working in Jobcare has been integral in finding myself, and I can’t recommend it enough.”
Deirdre Keller is now working as a Care Assistant with Irish Homecare Services. “Before Jobcare, I was a full-time mum and carer to two special needs children for over ten years. When my eldest son was taken into care, I started looking for work. I hadn’t done an interview for years and I had lost my confidence dealing with people. A friend recommended Jobcare, but, at the start, I had no confidence that I would even finish the course, let alone find a job. Now, I am ready to conquer the world!
“I felt for the first time ever that I could do whatever I want to do, that I’m as good as everybody else. I love helping people, so I decided I would go down the road of caring because it’s so important to me and I’m so passionate about it.
“Now I have a full-time job as a care assistant. I work with elderly people in their homes in my own area providing companionship, a listening ear and practical assistance. On the last day of the Jobseekers course, I was able to stand up and make a speech in front of 30 people. I could never have done that before.”
Brian Cleere is a project manager and trainer. He was out of work for about a year when he joined Jobcare’s Jobnet programme, having worked for many years in engineering and construction. His initial target was to find work in finance. “I sought out every opportunity that Jobnet gave me to network with business leaders in that sector.”
Brian targeted a mock interview with Ulster Bank and was recalled for a real one! That landed him a contract as a Senior Business Analyst with the bank. “That’s the uniqueness of Jobnet - the networking opportunities you get with fellow participants and the chances you get to meet potential employers.”
His contract with Ulster Bank concluded, Brian is currently developing his own project management and training business.
Transformation is possible - one person at a time
Paul Mooney shared, “The words of Isaiah 61 were relevant when I co-founded Jobcare in 1994, and they remain so today. This is how Jesus worked and still works through His body, helping to change the brokenness in society into the kind of community He spoke about where personal transformation is possible by meeting people where they are at. I still believe that there is opportunity and scope to see this kind of transformation as the impact of unemployment is turned around.”
To find out more about Jobcare, visit the website at www.jobcare.ie.