Dress for Success

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Getting a job in today’s competitive market is a difficult challenge for anyone. Over the course of 2013, the number of women on the live register in Ireland has risen by more than 3%, while for men the figure has fallen by 0.9%, suggesting it’s more difficult for women to find work.

In the Dublin region alone there are more than 62,000 women out of work. Dress for Success Dublin is an organisation on Liffey Street that promotes the economic independence of women by providing professional clothing, career development tools and a support network.

Each client works one-to-one with a suiting volunteer who helps her select free professional clothing and also provides support and encouragement as she prepares for her upcoming interviews, training/work placement or job. They also provide make-up for clients through their No7 partnership with Boots in Ireland.

“Since opening our doors in 2010, we have served over 500 women through our suiting programme, career centre and outreach programmes,” explains Susan Butler (pictured), the Programme Co-ordinator for Dress for Success Dublin. “Of those women, when we got in touch last November 2013, 57% of women were in employment and 75% were where they wanted to be, whether that was in training, internships, or further education.”

Dress for Success was founded in New York in 1997 by Nancy Lubalin and the organisation has now served more than 700,000 women around the world. They are a registered charity with funding coming from many places including corporate grants, funding programmes, individual donations and direct fundraising campaigns.

Clothing comes from individual donations, corporate organisations that hold suit drops with their staff and fashion companies which donate stock directly to the company. Anything donated which they cannot use, Dress for Success Dublin pass on to Women’s Aid, who sell these items in their charity shop.

NewsFour went in search of opportunities like this for men but unfortunately other than the normal job support services for both men and women, there is not a similar organisation for men within the Irish market.

By Donna Dunne