On 24th August 2016 Workshops for Women provided a workshop for the British Red Cross' at their Oldham Refugee Hub on the topic of 'Self-Confidence'. The workshop was part of their series on employability and we worked with an all-male group of asylum seekers for an hour, piecing together self-confidence; what it means, why we lack it, and why it's important to employability. We also looked at how to increase self-confidence in easy, accessibly ways. Feedback from the men was very positive.
As someone who used to work in the refugee sector helping people to build employability skills on a one-to-one level, I cannot stress enough how important self-confidence is to employability, perhaps even more-so than knowing how to write a good CV or application. Self-confidence allows us to 'sell ourselves', a practice very common in the 21st century job hunt, but one most people are still uncomfortable with. It also allows us to bounce back from rejection, which is crucial for anyone seeking voluntary work or employment. I myself have given someone a job who had the same skills and qualifications as another candidate, but who also had confidence. Because the candidate was confident, I knew they would be able to take initiative and be self-motivated with tasks such as networking and calling organisations to explain the project they were working on. When someone is confident in themselves, it makes you feel as though you can be confident in them, and that makes all the difference.
Confidence is also vital in things like language learning, something many asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants have to face before they are able to secure employment. If we fear making a mistake, sounding silly, or not being understood, we won't try and by not trying we risk never being fluent in that language. The most fluent-sounding language learners I have ever heard are not actually more fluent than their peers, but their confidence means they can forgive themselves for any mistakes they make, and keep talking anyway. By being confident we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, and when we are vulnerable we are able to learn.
So I encourage you all to go out and get confident! Learn something new, try something new, and don't be afraid of what might happen. Because, as one person told me once 'imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time'.