An ethical recruitment solution that puts the individual first: ‘Towards Work changed my life’

The bespoke service caters to the jobseekers’ needs, providing compassionate and understanding guidance to help those struggling to make their way in the world of work. Groundwork Greater Nottingham’s Towards Work project is part of the national Building Better Opportunities Programme, an initiative at the heart of efforts to overcome the barriers preventing people from gaining stable employment. The Building Better Opportunities Programme (BBO) is jointly funded by the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) and the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership European Social Fund (ESF).

The Towards Work programme is one of our greatest success stories; by engaging with employers and jobseekers, it serves the needs of both. As a socially conscious organisation, the aims of the initiative are fully aligned with the aims of Groundwork- making the world a better place by providing opportunities and resources to those that need them most.

These barriers are not typically uniform, and do vary from person-to-person, so it’s important that work coaches pay attention to the specific needs of individuals to be effective advisors. In June I chatted with Dawn Williams, one of our work coaches, about her approach to the tasks at hand: ‘Dawn sees her role, in many respects, as ‘part support worker, part work coach’; helping people become better versions of themselves in the process of finding employment, she is having to address a variety of issues affecting their personal lives.’

Often, it’s not enough to just get someone a job- there are other areas of their life and experiences that need to be addressed. That’s why the programme will support its clients for up to three months after securing employment, checking in regularly with them to support them on their journey.

Personal Budget

Each participant on the Towards Work programme is assisted with the financial barriers needed to be overcome to secure employment, including childcare, clothing, and access to transport and training. Each little bit of support can go a long way in ensuring that participants feel more confident about getting into employment.

The stress of financial struggles is life-altering, meaning some, regrettably, fail to enter employment based on the barrier debt issues already cause. A study by the University of Nottingham found that ‘people who struggle with debt are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression.’


The Toward Work process involves working closely with employers as well as job seekers. A job broker meets with businesses to discuss employment opportunities- be they work placements, volunteer positions or employment- and match programme participants accordingly. Not only does the service cater to the needs of the individual, it also works to the mutual benefit of the employer.

Extensive impact

The success stories are many, and their impact is wide-reaching; every £1 spent on the Towards Work programme has generated £2.50 in economic and social value. The overall social impact has been valued at £25 million pounds (May 2022).

It is an empowering initiative, one that gives the participants the confidence to effect change in their lives, improving themselves and their families and communities by extension. One such success story is Max, whose life had taken a dramatic turn after successive years failing to find stable and fulfilling employment. The Towards Work programme was there when he needed it most. Watch him tell his inspiring story here.

And for more inspiring case studies, go to, where you can also learn more about the programme.

Towards Work is delivered throughout Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Derby and Derbyshire by a partnership of local organisations who specialise in supporting people into work.

For enquiries, call 0115 9788212, or email at

The Towards Work project is accepting new referrals until the end of December 2022 and closes at the end of March 2023. To make a referral or refer yourself please visit Make A Referral To Build Better Opportunities | Groundworks Nottingham (

Matthew Thomas