BLOG: Oakleaf’s Pathway’s to Work Employment Project: Year Two

BLOG: Oakleaf’s Pathway’s to Work Employment Project: Year Two

During its second year (5th May 2022 – 4th May 2023), the project has exceeded our expectations by providing support to 210 clients, far surpassing Oakleaf’s initial target of 60 individuals.

The project continues to operate as a friendly, safe and unpressurised drop-in service, offering clients a safe space to acquire the skills, confidence and training needed to return to the workplace.

Our dedicated Employment Advisors, Helen and Mike, offer personalised one-to-one emotional support for clients. They conduct workshops on various topics such as career advice, CV writing, job applications, interview techniques and more – all delivered in a supportive and encouraging environment. Clients also benefit from a thriving ‘Job Club’ every Wednesday. These sessions, facilitated by our wonderful Learning Support Assistant Susie, have been incredibly helpful since her joining our team in Autumn 2022.

To enhance our offerings, we introduced ‘Learn, Lunch, Learn’ sessions, allowing clients to complete a Digital College course in a single day. These courses cover a range of topics, including Basic Microsoft Word and Excel, Social Media Skills, Bookkeeping, Stress Awareness and Management and Planning to Start Your Own Business.

The increased one-on-one support and targeted training courses has enabled us to tailor our learning support to meet individual needs effectively. This approach has significantly improved our clients’ confidence and resilience, encouraging them to remain focused and determines.

“Mike (Employment Advisor) supports me with my employment. This includes building confidence, acting as a disability advocate, interview preparation, tackling imposter syndrome, and negotiating reasonable adjustments.

In just seven months Mike has helped me increase my salary by 150% in a field I love working in, which aligns with my values. He provides valuable insights that are reassuring and encouraging. He is an exceptional mentor and a great listener.” – Oakleaf client

We are proud to offer accredited online training with a wide range of topics from Digital College, Activate Learning, Pro-Train, and Learning Curve. Additionally, we conduct general IT sessions both online and in-person, covering basic IT skills as well as advanced courses on Microsoft Office.

This year, the Employment Project has played a pivotal role in helping 38 clients achieve certificates and qualifications, significantly impacting their journey back into the world of work.

In addition to these services, we provide extra resources such as access a Life Coach, support from volunteers with educational backgrounds for those facing learning difficulties, and the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and experiences of fellow clients who have volunteered their support. The growing offer of peer support has proven invaluable, benefitting everyone involved.

“I referred myself to Oakleaf to access their counselling services as I have been managing long-term and enduring depression. I also expressed my interest in their employment services as I was made redundant just before the first COVID lockdown. During my counselling sessions, I made noticeable progress and decided to share my CV and recent qualifications with the team as well as attend some short computer-based courses.

Following a conversation with staff, I realised that I could contribute my skills and experience by working with clients. The lasting benefit for me is the establishment of a meaningful midweek routine centred around Oakleaf.” – Oakleaf client

Oakleaf also hosts ‘Experience Matters Workshops’, featuring inspiring guest speakers who are specialists in their respective fields. Over the past year, we have been fortunate enough to have LinkedIn and Business Coaches, Citizens Advice Guildford, The National Careers Service, Guildford JCP, The Yorkshire Building Society, and several local employers providing one-off workshops at Oakleaf, offering work experience, volunteering, and even employment prospects.

We are excited to announce our collaboration with the Guildford Adult Learning Centre on an apprenticeship initiative that we anticipate will materialise in September 2023.

Furthermore, we are pleased to offer our clients the opportunity to attend events outside of Oakleaf. Recently, we visited Harry Edward’s Healing Sanctuary, nestled in the beautiful Surrey countryside, as well as Watt’s Gallery, where clients discovered some fantastic volunteering opportunities.

If you would like to find out more about our Employment Project, please don’t hesitate to contact Helen at or Mike at, or call us at 01483 303649.

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