Dress for Success

Dress for Success volunteers with young people who have gone through the Dressing Programme

Victoria came from an ordinary family, with an ordinary upbringing.

However, during her late teenage years, things changed. She fell into drugs and became a person that was not nice to be around. Her family disowned her, wrote her out of their lives, out of their home and out of their will. Broken, her behaviour while on drugs led to a conviction.

Victoria knew she needed to turn her life around.

After going through Drug Rehabilitation, Victoria moved from Christchurch to Tauranga to start anew and leave behind the drugs, drama, trauma and bad relationships.

But she needed a helping hand.

Victoria heard about Dress for Success, a charity that works to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help them thrive in work and life.

After attending their Resilience Training Programme, Victoria made a plan to get her life back on track. She is now three years drug-free, in employment for over two years, and in a good relationship.   She has also reconnected with her family, which was a huge turning point in her life.

“I can’t explain all the tools I collected during my time with Dress for Success. Where I once had no sun in my life, I now have a wonderful life—I’m happy. I will never erase the confidence I gained from my time with Dress for Success.”

More than Just a Set of Work Clothes

Dress for Success help disadvantaged women into employment with a wrap-around service that includes preparing CVs, providing interview, confidence resilience, and interpersonal skills, and providing interview and work clothes that considerably increase the chance of gaining employment.

Through empowering, supporting and assisting women in achieving their personal and professional goals, Dress for Success provides long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty.

Woman in formal work-wear who has gone through the dressing programme

After photo of a woman who has gone through the dressing programme

One of the free services provided is the Resilience Training Programme, designed to provide women with the tools and techniques to overcome diversity and become more resilient to create the future they want.

Clients can also participate in a 1-day course on building confidence and self-esteem, a financial capability programme to work through budgeting and financial goals and attend a session on the roles and responsibilities of employers and employees to fully prepare them for the workforce.

The Dressing Programme is the last part of the process where clients are fitted out with an appropriate set of clothes, shoes, bag and accessories to present themselves for job interviews.  Once the client is offered a job, they receive a second set of clothes to get them started. 

Turning Lives Around in Tauranga 

Since establishing an office in Tauranga two years ago, Dress for Success has assisted 170 women in preparing for and gaining employment. Like Victoria, some are looking to head down a new path in life, while others have spent years dedicating their time to family or have been out of work due to sickness, redundancy or lack of confidence.

Since coming out of lockdown, and in the wake many job losses, Dress for Success has seen increased demand for their services.  

With a significant increase in redundancies, they have released a programme to help clients work through the effects this has on the family, the financial impact, and the long-term implications on job searching and life goals. 

“Redundancy can be soul-destroying. It takes away your self- worth, and this erodes your confidence and self-esteem, affecting the way we behave with our loved ones, and others. The programme is an intensive one-on-one journey that works with each client’s personal situation,” says Michelle Pleydell, Dress for Success Rotorua Chairperson.

Dress for Success Rotorua came to TECT seeking funding towards their Tauranga office, with funds used to pay for the services of a consultant and to assist with lease costs and office overheads.

With a TECT grant of $10,000, Dress for Success can now support women from across the Western Bay of Plenty.

Michelle says that TECT’s support allows them to provide long-lasting solutions that enable women to break the cycle of poverty.

“We see women walk in with no confidence and walk out completely transformed. Every woman has that potential within them, the potential to create their own success in work and in life. We simply equip them with the tools, professional attire and self-assurance they need to do so.

“Before we opened our Tauranga office, we were seeing a lot of clients travelling from Tauranga to Rotorua to access our services. It’s fantastic that we can provide a local service for women in need, and we greatly appreciate TECT’s assistance in helping us achieve that.”

Dress for Success is currently looking for volunteers to help with CV writing, coaching, and mentoring, sorting clothing and assisting in their retail store. If you are interested in helping change people’s lives by volunteering your time, get in touch with Michelle today on 021 135 9197.

To learn more about Dress for Success, visit https://bayofplenty.dressforsuccess.org.


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