Smart Works Birmingham

We support unemployed women in the region through our dressing and interview coaching service. We prepare clients by styling them in a complete interview outfit and we provide a one-to-one coaching session so they feel more confident, start to believe in their ability to succeed and get the job.

Sector : Charities & Voluntary Sector

Where is your business based?

We are based in Birmingham city centre

What is your name?

Joanne Penn-Crossland

What is your role within the business?

Working alongside Ann, we both manage the Smart Works Birmingham service.

What does your business do?

We support unemployed women who have confirmed job interviews by providing a free service of interview styling, clothes and accessories and a one-to-one coaching session to talk through concerns about the interview, practice and boost confidence.

What is special about your business - what makes it a great place to work?

We support some of the most vulnerable women from across the West Midlands by providing a safe space in which they can to start to believe in their ability to succeed. Our sessions are fun, personalised and we listen to every woman's needs. 74% of the women we saw in 2018 got the job.

How many people do you employ?

There are only two members of staff at Smart Works Birmingham. The service is volunteer-led with around a team of 40 volunteers.

What skills and qualities do you look for in new employees? Why should people look at jobs in this sector?

We look for people who are caring, can empathise with and listen to our clients and are organised with computer skills as most of the planning, developing relationships and booking clients in is done over a database and Microsoft Office. You don't need any specific qualifications but being an excellent communicator is key.

What other job roles do you have in your business?

Currently no other job roles but we do look for volunteers to help out as Interview Coaches, Stylists and as Stock Assistants. A minimum of 5 years' experience in HR, recruitment or coaching is needed to be an interview coach. No qualifications needed to be a stylist, just an eye for fashion, understanding of how to piece an outfit together and excellent with people.

How do I apply for opportunities?

To apply for our voluntary roles, please visit

Volunteer : Stock Volunteer

Our stock volunteers are invaluable. They keep the whole Smart Works system running smoothly by maintaining the highest possible professional standards in all our beautiful dressing rooms. The role involves sorting, steaming and hanging, ensuring that our high quality clothing donations are immaculately presented for our clients. You need to be highly organised and tidy, love clothes and have lots of energy.