Wednesday, July 16, 2014

About 90 Days...but who is counting

Our time is running out…the reality of this hit home last week when we received a call from the couple who will be replacing us in October.  They are very excited to be coming and it made us wonder if we have accomplished all that we should have done while we were here.  This has also given pause to rethink what we have been doing the last 15 months and what still needs to be done before we leave for home. 
Over the time we have been in Scotland, the majority of the posts to this blog have been about our travels rather than about the work we have been doing.  This was on purpose as we didn’t want to advertise the private lives of the good people we have been assisting.  As we have evaluated our efforts over the last year we have had some wonderful experiences helping people realize the skills and accomplishments they have had and how to better present them to prospective employers as they search for work.

 This is our room in Edinburgh set up for a Career Workshop. 

Recently we had a very productive meeting with the Bishops in the Glasgow Stake.  That Stake does not have a Stake Employment Specialist so we have been spending more of our time meeting with individuals there.  Glasgow is about an hour drive from Edinburgh…not a big distance for us since we drove from California to Utah or Arizona on a regular basis, but for the average Scot, it is a huge sacrifice.  The Bishop of one of the Wards (a geographical area within a Stake…which is a larger geographical area made up of a number of Wards) asked us to meet with their Ward Council (the Ward leaders) to explain the resources we provide to those looking for work.  We met with the Ward Leaders and then spoke in their Sunday Sacrament Meeting.  We also set a date for a Career Workshop.

 Two of our participants in the Edinburgh Career Workshop - Stephen and Zining...and of course Sister Boden.  

We held the Career Workshop about two weeks ago and had 5 people in attendance.  The Workshop uses some building block exercises to help people identify their skills and accomplishments.  We help them develop a “Me in 30 Second” statement, teach the concept of building a network of people to help identify job opportunities, develop “Power Statements” for their CV (resume) to highlight their skills and accomplishments, and teach tips that will prepare them for the job interview.  The fun part of teaching these Workshops is when the participant understands the concept being taught and “the light goes on”.  Sometime we have participants that don’t “get it”…those are the hard ones to work with.

 These are the participants of our Career Workshop in Dumbarton.  This was a fun workshop because we were able to get everyone involved and participating.  Jordan, Rodin, Victoria, Sister Wagar, and Sandzi.

Because of the generous government benefits offered in the UK and Ireland we often deal with immigrants from other countries.  Individuals from other European Union countries can come to the UK with little trouble and qualify for benefits shortly after being here.  (That is causing a big strain on government resources, but that is another story for another time.)  Jobs in many western European countries are hard to find and people think the “grass is greener” in Scotland and Ireland…it is green here but that is because of all the rain.  Jobs are still hard to find but the job market has improved.  We have met with and helped people from Slovakia, Romania, Spain, Brazil, Latvia, Ecuador, Netherlands, Kosovo, China, Taiwan, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Honduras, Nepal,…and of course England, Scotland and Ireland.  We have helped people with a wide range of education from those who have a Masters or PhD degree to individuals who have only a high school education.  We have helped people who are desperate to succeed and are very motivated and others who struggle with the whole concept of work.  We have helped those who want full time work and others who won’t work more than 16 hours per week to avoid losing government benefits.  We have a wide example of experiences to share at some point.

 The Edinburgh Stake Building - where we work three days each week.  We share the room with the Family History Centre.  (This is the back entrance to the building from the car park.  During the week it is the main entrance)

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