The two main London-based organisations helping British Jews gain employment or set up businesses said they were “working round the clock” as the pandemic triggered “extreme anxiety” in clients amid the global economic downturn.
Resource and Work Avenue said they were staying open to keep services going while setting up additional video conferencing accounts and training volunteers to make full use of technology while heeding the government’s social distancing advice.
“We are working around the clock to keep all our services going,” said Victoria Sterman, chief executive of Resource, which helps job-seekers build CVs and get IT training, as well as advising those seeking to set up their own businesses.
“We are continuing with business as usual and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, both for existing and new clients. We recognise that people will need additional employment support in the coming weeks or months so all of our services will be available remotely.”
Sterman said Resource advisors were using technology to work remotely, including “using conference call services like Zoom where the advisor and client can share screens and so work together on documents such as CVs in separate locations”.
She added: “We are starting to offer IT training remotely too, and from next week our seminars are going online. We also offer telephone support whenever appropriate, especially for people who are daunted by the use of technology.”
Debbie Sheldon, chief executive of Work Avenue, said the organisation was “totally committed to supporting clients during these uncertain times… We are scheduling more appointments than ever via telephone and video conferencing.”
Sterman admitted that “many of our clients are reporting extreme anxiety regarding their situations,” explaining that “people who we have helped start freelance businesses are seeing them disintegrate before their eyes”.
She said: “We have been asked to offer support to help people hang on to their businesses and we are helping where we can. We are also offering advice dealing with coronavirus-related issues such as working from home, facing redundancy, seeking new opportunities, and using transferable skills.”
Sterman said there were several Resource clients who were stuck midway through the recruitment process. “They have been to an interview but haven’t yet heard if they’re being offered the job or not,” she said. “One job seeker was offered a job last week has been told the start date is on indefinite hold… It’s frustrating.”