Redundancy and job hunting — Job Clubs

Milton Keynes has these things call “job clubs”, under its “Neighbourhood Employment Programme”, so I though I had better investigate what they offer, and so attended three of them - the local one to where I am living, the one directed at those over 50, and the one for executives, as detailed on the council leaflet. I went first to the local one, staffed by a couple of ladies from the local college, and was given the multi-page enrolment form to complete. I then talked through my CV with one of the staff, who told me I should not put my date of birth on the CV, but that beyond that, she could not really offer me any assistance.

Try again at the over 50s one, held in the very nice Age UK building:

Age UK building in Peartree Bridge

When I dropped in, there was about 6 clients, and the two organisers were busy. When one of them became free enough to speak to me, she rapidly conclude there was nothing they could do for me and sent me away.

The executive job club proved harder to track down as it closed down completely over the Christmas period when I started looking for it (due to being dependant on other organisations). However, when, on the 20th January, I did attend, it was something quite different - run by Milton Keynes Executives Action (MKEA), which is a voluntary organisation. It was a genuine training session, a presentation by a good, knowledgable speaker on “making a positive impact” - how to prepare for interviews, and be effective in them, with a workshop element of answering the ten most common interview question. This was a group well worth contacting with a clear schedule, and a lot of accumulated resources on their website at http://www.executives-action.co.uk

I have since then attended two more of their Wednesday evening training sessions, and dropped in on their Thursday coffee morning. They provide several excellent resources, which I have not found elsewhere:

  • Lecture style training on subjects related to job hunting. The current spring term program lists ten subjects, all interesting subjects.
  • The aids for organising your job search, on their web site, give better direction than I have seen anywhere else. I found them to be empowering - helping me to feel less like a victim who needs to take any suitable job, rather able to decide what job I wanted, and so target that position.
  • Other members of this group are available to support you, review your CV, and give you feedback, so helping you to remain motivated, and on-track. There is an encouragement to have a CV-buddy so that you each review the CV of the other, which you have tailored for the specific job application, and who can then also ensure you have done your interview preparation correctly.
  • The group also facilitates networking, including assisting people to attend a breakfast networking event in Milton Keynes, and running a LinkedIn group.

I am not surprised that this group continues to get support from people who have found the services it offers to be useful. Although those services may not be applicable to all job seekers, I think this style of support should be much more widely available, and am happy to be one of their statistics of success, which allow them their main income from government. Well done to Melvin Hurley for setting this group up and running it well.

Melvin Hurley

It is a pity that the other job clubs are so limited, and were not able to immediately refer someone like myself onto MKEA. They are proclaimed, under the RegenerationMK banner, as a major imitative for improving Prosperity in the seven most deprived areas of Milton Keynes. If it had not been for MKEA, my personal assessment of the value of the scheme for myself would have been “useless”, even though I would have appeared as one of the (currently) 5,549 people who have accessed the scheme since 2012. Apparently, 94% of those have been supported into training - I wonder what that means - hopefully a bit more than be recommended to remove by date of birth from my CV!