African Caribbean Community Association

04 November 2021

The African Caribbean Community Association in Sunderland is supporting project participants to boost their skills and confidence as a path to increased employability.

Having access to secure employment that pays at least the real Living Wage is essential for people to meet their needs for a decent standard of living. Being unemployed or in low-paid, insecure work can lower self-esteem and confidence and is likely to have a negative impact on mental and physical health.

“When you experience discrimination in your job search and are out of work it has a negative impact on your mental health. We help people rebuild their confidence and take this positivity into job interviews.” Lucky Pemu, Project Worker

Some groups of people are more likely to experience unemployment and low pay, including people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, disabled people and women. Discrimination and structural racism in the workplace and wider society contributes to this inequality.

Project Worker, Lucky Pemy, explained: “If you don’t have a job, you don’t have a good income – but the impacts can be much broader than that. When you’re out of work you can lose confidence and start to withdraw from the community around you. When you don’t have confidence you’re less likely to socialise and take part in activities and it can overall have a negative impact on your mental health.

“We support our members to increase their employability through one-toone peer support where people can learn digital and computer skills, how to apply for jobs online and how to prepare for an interview. We also offer a lot of volunteering opportunities and provide references based on the skills they’ve learnt.

“Boosting skills is important but the main way we support people into work is by boosting their confidence. When you volunteer with your peers, you get the opportunity to work in a group and learn from each other which boosts your morale and you can then take this confidence into an interview or a workplace and show you’re ready for the job.

“Our members are mainly from Black African descent and many have experienced discrimination in the workplace or when applying for jobs. This can knock your confidence and give you a defeated mindset. Here they can build themselves up amongst peers so they are ready to prove themselves in an interview. We’ve seen the impact of this with people moving into work, being more active volunteers, and offering support to their peers.”

This project supports people living in Sunderland, South Tyneside and surrounding towns. It is funded by People's Health Trust using money raised by Health Lottery North East & Cumbria. Grant amount £40,000.

This case study was produced as part of People's Health Trust's 2021 Annual Review and demonstrates how jobs and income is an important social determinant of health. To read it in full, click here.

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