Interview with Tanja, Thames Reach’s job broker helping people get back into work
Tanja Mrnjaus is Thames Reach’s job broker, based in the Employment and Skills team. We chat to her about the challenges of the job market, how she is supporting people to get back into work and her predictions for a post-lockdown London
Can you tell us a bit about your role, and your career before coming to Thames Reach?
My role as a job broker is to support clients through search, application and placement into employment. I am also building new and managing existing relationships with employers and training providers. Previous to working here I was a brand and general manager for an international fashion brand and a lecturer for Marketing and Communications in Business of Fashion. I started my career as a personal stylist and have worked with shopping giants such as Westfield and John Lewis developing and recruiting styling talent and delivering retail training programmes.
What are the biggest challenges in your role at the moment?
The biggest challenges in my role at the moment are very much influenced by the global pandemic and the effects on the economic market. Many businesses have shut their doors and certain industries have struggled to keep afloat. As a result there is an increase of people who are looking for work in an environment where there are not as many roles offered. However there is always an opportunity and I am very much motivated to ensure that people I work with are placed in sustainable employment.
What are the biggest challenges faced by those supported by the Employment and Skills (E&S) team, and how are you able to help?
The challenges faced by E&S clients are very complex and varied. Main barriers include communication skills, lack of training, lack of experience, confidence, technology access and funds. By working with clients personally, I can tailor a plan to meet their needs in terms of receiving additional support in areas they are lacking and taking steps towards their employment goals. I support clients by coaching them through their job search and helping them navigate through resources that are available to them so they reach their full potential.
Do you have any predictions for the employment market once London comes out of a full lockdown? What advice are you giving to clients based on this?
I am very hopeful for the rise in the employment market once London comes out of full lockdown. My predictions in terms of job vacancies would be that the hospitality and hotel industries will making a big comeback, the beauty industry will boom, IT and digital technology will continue to dominate, and digital skills will be much in demand; warehouse, delivery service and construction will continue to thrive. I am also seeing a rise in local social enterprise businesses; giving back to the community will be more important than ever. Due to the mental health effects of the pandemic, mindfulness and wellbeing services will become more sought after than ever.
What are you hopeful about this year?
There will definitely be exciting opportunities this year to start fresh and with a new perspective. There are many grants to support and help rebuild the economy and the best thing we can all do is to continue to be positive and work together to make a difference to those that need it the most. This year is all about cross-referring, cross partnerships and establishing strong networks to provide an improved service and create opportunities from within.