Get to know Jane Whiting, Community Works
5 August 2020
Meet Jane Whiting
Part of our friendly Community Works team, Jane is an Employability Officer helping people in Leith and north Edinburgh get into work, try volunteering and enhance their confidence and skills.
When you meet someone through Community Works, what’s the first thing you like to get to know about them?
I like to know what they are interested in and what makes them tick. I often ask people what their dream job is if I could wave a magic wand. If they haven’t yet had a paid or voluntary job I ask what they like to do in their spare time which can uncover interests like gardening, or being around animals or caring for family members.
How did you get into this line of work?
I blagged my way in having worked for a long time with people who are in work but struggling dealing with health problems or new parents or not liking the field of work they are in.
I’ve changed careers several times myself from communications, to fundraising to counselling/coaching to employability, so I know it’s possible to change sectors from a large charity to a small business, and I also get that the person you are at 21 isn’t the person you are at 40. You change and what you enjoy and want to be part of changes too. I started off wanting to be in publishing but it was too competitive and full of unpaid internships so I took a sideways move and did a professional qualification so I had more choices.
“The person you are at 21 isn’t the person you are at 40. You change and what you enjoy and want to be part of changes too.”
What is a top tip you’d give to people returning to work after a long time?
Ask friends and family what your strengths are and what you are really good at, they will surprise you by spotting things you don’t realise you do well. A lot of the time we take for granted things we are good at that someone else may not be able to do. Also don’t forget that unpaid work experience, and skills in raising a family are excellent skills for paid work.
“Ask friends and family what your strengths are and what you are really good at, they will surprise you by spotting things you don’t realise you do well.”
What’s your favourite training course to teach?
I don’t train yet, if I did it would be mental health first aid. We all need to know how to help ourselves be mentally well and support others with mental health. We are all on a continuum with wellbeing and we are all in it together.
What was your dream job as a kid?
I wanted to run my own vintage clothes business as I had a real passion for this and always wore vintage fashion top to toe from 16 to 22 until I got a corporate job and had to change my look.
Would you like to learn more?
Find out more about Community Works and how they could help you here.