A new project to help women into employment has been launched in Londonderry.
Dress For Success™ Foyle, a local affiliate of the international not-for-profit organisation, has opened its first Northern Ireland branch at Ashleywood House, Ardmore Road.
Since suiting the first client in 1997, Dress for Success has served more than 1 million women internationally by providing them with business-appropriate clothing, mentoring and professional development programmes.
“Dress for Success changes lives; it’s as simple as that. We are about much more than just suits – we empower women to thrive in work and in life,” says Joi Gordon, CEO of Dress for Success Worldwide.
“And we are thrilled that women in the Foyle area will now be able to access the numerous programmes that we offer. It is clear that the community has already embraced our mission and that this new affiliate twill be a tremendous success.”
Women come to the Foyle operation by referral after having completed job training programmes offered by local social service agencies and non-profit organisations. They get a session with a trained stylist who helps them choose the perfect outfit for the interview. Everything from the suit to the shoes, handbags and accessories is provided free of charge.
But it isn’t only about providing clothes; women are also offered guidance with CVs and interview preparation sessions. The service is also open to school leavers, graduates and young people who are going to interviews and would like support with presenting themselves and attending interviews.
Dress For Success Foyle was established in the city by Foyle Women’s Aid, supported by Marks & Spencer through donation of professional attire, stylist training and the set-up of the boutique.
“Our mission is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and life,” a spokesperson for Foyle Women’s Aid explained.”