Changed my life - literally - came to the course feeling so down and left feeling positive and ready for any challenge workwise! Thank you!

Susan P Jan 2022

European Social Fund


1) Content of provision and how it will be delivered

As a first step, clients will be referred from their local DWP office, and will have been confirmed as eligible for this course in terms of benefit status and availability. An information, advice and guidance session will be held with each of the 20 participants, including a full Diagnostic Interview & Study/Employment plan.

This session will include a basic literacy and numeracy assessment to ensure that each person can participate fully; although we have experienced support staff who will be attending the course throughout to help those with ESOL and health and disability issues, including Dyslexia, ADD and mental health issues.

In the early sessions we will be looking at primary & secondary barriers to work, and we will take a frank and honest look at participants’ attitude to finding work, self awareness, self presentation, and hygiene; ability to operate within a team, how to treat others with respect and challenging negative attitudes to employment.

Whilst this is in no way a competitive course, we will be encouraging and promoting positive attitudes among individual participants, looking at how they support others whose personal circumstances or barriers make participation in the course more challenging, and we will use this peer mentoring as a way of helping build confidence and motivation, offering ‘course participant of the week’ certificates etc.

As a practical way of helping our 20 course participants to understand the world of work including self-employment and to deliver practical learning within the programme, we will be including a South East based health and beauty business, Wake Up Makeup, led by an entrepreneurial former lone parent who has set up and operates a successful beauty and training operation.

This element of the course will be delivered to 4 groups of 5 beneficiaries at a time, with access to specialist equipment and using each other as ‘clients’ when learning and practising beauty procedures, such as manicures, pedicures, and head massage. These smaller, vocationally based sessions will also include training in greeting and dealing with customers, appropriate workplace behaviour, health and safety, hygiene, dress code and presenting a professional image.

While each group of 5 is being offered practical, hands on training and self development 2 opportunities, the other 15 will be completing modules in self awareness and self presentation, job hunting skills, and building confidence and motivation at a gradual pace, in a natural and encouraging setting.

We will be looking at skills and experience in an encouraging and non judgemental way, enabling each participant to demonstrate to themselves and their team mates their own individual strengths and potential. Personal circumstances and disabilities will not be seen as a barrier to working in this industry, and advice and guidance will be given by the tutor and learning mentors in how to include these in a practical plan to obtain a sustainable and fulfilling job.

We will be covering the pros and cons of work versus non- work and looking in detail at the implications, financially, emotionally and practically of being employed. We will be promoting this as a ‘free choice’ entry into employment or self employment.

Each week and each module will form the basis of the final Action Plan, which is an individualised and realistic ‘next steps’ plan for each participant to take away and act on as their first step back into the world of work, whether in the beauty industry or another chosen path.

In summary, the course will take place over 4 weeks, with attendance of the full group in weeks 1 and 4, and attendance in weeks 2 and 3 as practical sessions of 5 people or as a group of 15. Each claimant will therefore need to commit to a period of 4 weeks in which they will be in ‘study’ at a nearby location to their DWP office for one day a week at least, from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm.

2) Details and evidence of how this course will help claimants move closer to work

On a practical and evidence based level, we know that making a course environment friendly, encouraging, non threatening and interesting, makes claimants want to participate and return to complete the course. We will be offering travel expenses (repaid on receipt) and lunch every day of the course. We have set the participation hours to be suitable for those with children at school, and hope that the DWP may be able to assist with replacement carer or pre-school childcare costs. As stated above, we have delivered this course (with hospitality training as the vocational element) several times for DWP offices over the last 3 years and have a 100% retention and success rate. We understand the importance of producing agreed outputs.

3) Performance offer, outcomes and outputs and our rationale Of 20 participants, we will achieve 100% Action Plan outputs.

We expect to deliver a 100% completion rate and additional ‘soft’ outcomes of 20 people more well equipped for the world of work in terms of personal confidence, job hunting skills, operating in a team, customer service experience and 4 weeks of intensive personal work on individual barriers and skills gaps. Our rationale for this is a tried and tested personal development and action planning course previously delivered for Southend on Sea and Brighton and Hove DWP.

4) How will Cute Dog manage performance to ensure outcomes and outputs?

By using project management practise, continuous monitoring and meticulous record keeping, and managing issues as they arise. We will work closely with participant’s local DWP advisor so that personal issues/circumstance are understood and taken into account so that they are given the best chance to participate and complete.