Circle Community, Get Employed

Breaking the ‘no job, no experience’ cycle

You can’t get a job because you don’t have any experience. But you can’t get experience until you’ve had a job. How do you go about breaking the cycle?

Circle Community is helping young people do exactly that. Their work focuses on developing the confidence, workplace skills and positive mind set needed to secure a permanent job. This can be life-changing, especially to the young people Circle Community works with – those who are more vulnerable to getting involved in violent crime, using drugs and alcohol, or experiencing mental illness. These young people are regularly overlooked by other employability programmes.

  • 67 young people attended the Hackney programme.
  • 37 young people completed the course and found sustainable employment through the organisation’s network of employers or supported job search.
  • In 2017-18 Circle generated a social value equivalent to £4.31 for each £1 invested in Get Employed.

Getting ready for paid work with prospects

A small, community-based initiative, Circle Community works in partnership with local specialist support agencies. Their ‘Get Employed’ programme offers structured quality work experience via their social enterprise retail shop Circle Collective. It supports over 30 independent designers and produces a pilot collection of their own clothes, manufactured by women in Downview prison in Surrey.

In 2018, we supported the programme with a grant of £10,000. That year, more than 60 young people aged 18-21 in Hackney and Lewisham, took part in the Get Employed programme, to help them find, sustain and progress in permanent, paid work with prospects. The young people developed their skills, experience and resilience through:

  • Mentoring and 1:1 coaching
  • Work experience in Circle Collective retail shop
  • Motivational workshops and corporate insight days, with the chance to meet employers and learn about jobs and expectations.


Finding a job is only the beginning and many young people need ongoing support to remain in work and progress. Employers are fundamental to this process. They act as role models, helping to raise aspirations as well as offering well paid entry level positions. The organisations involved provide support through evening drop-ins, via social media, phone, or email.

For young people, the experience they gain on the programme can change their outlook, prospects, and future.

“We are delighted to have retained our historic success rate of finding employment for over 70% of those young people that complete the Get Employed training programme. We regard this as an achievement as, particularly in the last 12 months, there has been a substantial increase in the number of young people coming to us presenting higher levels of need and having fallen through the gaps of other employment programmes, both in Hackney and Lewisham.”

Turly Humphreys, founder of the Circle Collective

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