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Support into work

Why social capital is so important to people looking for meaningful work

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Inspiring Connections Project Manager, Lydia Newell explores the importance of social capital and how the programme is helping those with barriers to achieve their career goals.

What is social capital and why is it important for job seekers?

Your ‘social capital’ is the resources available to you through your social networks. If you consider everyone that you have a connection with, your social capital is all about your ability to make the most of those connections to, for example, help you solve problems, access opportunities and achieve your goals.

Have you ever asked someone to check your CV? Has a friend ever put you in touch with someone they know who works in a job you’re interested in? Have you ever gotten a job after someone has referred you to a company? These are examples of using your social capital.

About Inspiring Connections

At Catch22 we understand the importance of social capital when it comes to job searching.

Inspiring Connectionsis a personal and professional development programme enabling individuals aged 18+ to take the next steps towards their career goals through learning how to build and leverage their social capital.

Many people have huge potential, but have lacked the opportunities, support and momentum to achieve their goals. The Inspiring Connections programme works by bringing ‘Candidates’ (individuals looking for meaningful work) together with ‘Advocates’ (professionals and business owners keen to offer support).

Candidates and Advocates participate in a programme exploring themes including: goal setting, personal brand, and mapping success. The focus of the support is on the Candidate achieving their career goals – offering encouragement, coaching, problem solving, support with decision making, accountability, and celebrating progress.

How Inspiring Connections benefits Candidates

“I came into the programme with low confidence, but I’m leaving with optimism for the future.”

– Inspiring Connections Candidate, February 2022

This initiative gives Candidates access to an experienced professional who they may not encounter in other areas of their lives. The connections they build have the potential to literally ‘open doors’ into employment opportunities. Examples of this could be our Advocates informing Candidates of job vacancies, supporting their job applications, or sharing their knowledge of a particular industry.

By the end of the programme, Candidates have grown their social capital and report an increase in confidence, motivation, career direction, professional network, and have developed an awareness of steps they need to take.

How Inspiring Connections benefits Advocates

“The programme not only helps Candidates but as an Advocate you yourself learn a huge amount each time your participate. Not only is it incredibly rewarding to support Candidates to increase their social capital, I myself have learnt new things each time I have taken part. The online delivery is incredibly successful and meant that Advocates and Candidates have come from across the country bringing a totally unique set of experience and challenges each time. I’m so excited to continue to be part of this programme.”

– Inspiring Connections Advocate, May 2022

Inspiring Connections Advocates are recruited from a variety of different backgrounds, often with a common desire to give back: to share their experiences in the world of work, and to support someone else to achieve their own career goals.

Many Inspiring Connections Advocates choose to come back to volunteer with the programme again, telling us that the programme is a good way to connect with new people outside of their normal social circles, thus growing their own social network.

We would like to thank our partners, Microsoft and the Clothworkers’ and Skinners’ Livery companies for their support in making this opportunity available.