It’s good to be kind

20 May 2020

This Mental Health Awareness Week the theme is ‘kindness’. Community Works share Mark’s story to show one more reason why it’s good to be kind. 

We’ve probably all encountered small acts of kindness over these past few months, whether it’s been a note through the door, a friendly phone call or a helpful neighbour reaching out. Rainbows, too, in windows, fund raisers running laps, or a passer by pausing simply to give you more space on the pavement. The old saying, ‘small acts of kindness can go a long way’, rings particularly true for Mark, a former finance professional whose own acts of kindness helped him go in an entirely new direction in his career.

After working for sixteen years as a Building Society Manager in his previous job, redundancy changed the course of Mark’s career out of the blue. Having only worked with two banking companies after leaving school, Mark felt very out of his depth in the current job market. “There were very few suitable vacancies in finance, and I was unsure what to do. Also, since it was so long since I had applied for a job, generally the application process was now a lot more complex.”

Referred to us by his Jobcentre career coach, Mark met with Jane, one of our Community Works Employability Officers. “When I initially heard about Community Works, I was doubtful that someone at a housing association could help me. After my initial meeting, I realised Community Works are a totally dedicated team that can help people back into work. They provide training, 1:1 support and encouragement, which is tailor made to what you need.”

“Jane understood the difficulties I was facing and reviewed my CV. We discussed what I needed to focus on and she helped me consider my transferable skills in more detail, to expand my job search further. When I needed more specific advice with a particular application, there was always someone available to help me through it. I really appreciated having someone knowledgeable to speak to, even if it was just to have a quick chat.”

Mark attended courses offered by Community Works, including First Aid and interview skills, and one highlight was being able to meet up with others in a similar situation. However it was the 1:1 support with Jane that helped Mark see how the little things, including small acts of kindness, could help him show employers his potential. “Before I had Community Works interview training, I did not realise that helping a friend refurbish their house or doing any kind of volunteer work would be of interest to an employer. It makes sense though, they want to know what type of person you are, and how you will fit in with the team.”

Mark felt his skills and confidence increase and he succeeded in completing a lengthy job application and competency based interview with Social Security Scotland. He is now a Team Leader with them. “In this case, being kind benefitted me as well as the people I helped.”

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The Community Works team are working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. They’re here to help PoLHA and PDL tenants and residents of EH5, 6 and 7 with free job search support and advice.

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