First Impressions

A new Bath-based charity is seeking to help women into employment, by opening up a range of high-quality, workwear donations for women to choose interview clothes and outfits. f

Dr Jane Ellis-Brush, a lecturer at the University of Bath’s School of Management, is setting up First Impressions to help women feel confident and prepared for interviews, to give them the best chance of job-seeking success. 

Having moved to Bath earlier in the year from living abroad, working in the financial services for a global bank, Ellis-Brush realised she had an extensive corporate wardrobe, most of which she no longer needed, and the idea for the charity was born. 

“When we moved to Bath and my work clothes came out of storage, I suddenly thought how great it would be if others, who have less opportunity, could access a range of outfits for an interview,” said Ellis-Brush. “We know that interviewers are prone to making snap decisions on a candidates’ employability and the right outfit can be transformative in terms of confidence and self-belief.

“We want to work with local organisations to have a positive impact on the careers of young women, and women returning to work. We’re offering a tailored service to focus on building inner confidence through wardrobe selection and interview coaching.”

Ellis-Brush, and colleague Nicola Lloyd, also from Bath’s School of Management, are focussing on making connections with agencies and organisations in Bath; sourcing locations for clothes storage; and a venue to host a pop-up event in the next six months. 

The project will first focus on giving women access to high-quality clothes and accessories, and later match women with a mentor to discuss their goals and help them prepare for interviews. 

“I’ve been really amazed by the number of people in Bath who want to help us with our project, and are willing to give their time, energy and expertise. The response has been hugely inspiring and I am very grateful to the people and organisations who are making it possible, including 3SG Bath, Bath Women’s Fund, Mercy in Action and St John’s Foundation, who have given us our first grant to help us get plans off the ground.”

The charity is keen to hear from people who would like to donate clothes, get involved, or have ideas about storage solutions for donations. Visit https://1stimpressions.org.uk/ for more information or email Jane@1stimpressions.org.uk

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