‘When 23 of us started the course only three of us knew what a CV was!’ James, Employment Preparation Course participant, 1992.
Our aim has always been to reach those that no one else is reaching, and to believe in those that few others are investing in. In 1990 alone we knocked on doors on the North Peckham estates a staggering 30,000 times.
At each door we invited any unemployed residents to attend our Employment Preparation Course (EPC).
Attendees ranged from university lecturers to people who’d never worked. Most suffered from a common problem: lack of confidence. Our solution was to help people see their worth.
Our approach then, of encouraging people to talk about their achievements, continues to define us today. It provides the platform for developing powerful CVs, finding the right jobs, and learning interview skills.
Michael was made redundant by Dresdner Bank in 1996. He struggled to find another job and says, ‘I hit rock bottom and had no-one to turn to.’
After moving between part-time jobs, he met someone from Pecan at the job centre. He attended a computer literacy course and an EPC. We then arranged a work experience placement for him at Citibank which, he says, ‘boosted my confidence even further.’
Michael went on to full-time employment in an accounts role for a fashion company.
In the first ten years of our work on the North Peckham estates, unemployment fell from 26% to 10%. Very few agencies were addressing this issue during that period.
Thousands of people have found work through Pecan. And most would agree with Michael’s comment that one ingredient in particular has made all the difference: ‘At last I had met someone who genuinely cared.’