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Fri 12 February 2021, 12:10|Tottenham Hotspur

Today, we take a look at the work that continues to be delivered by the Club and its Foundation to support local people into employment during the pandemic.

COVID-19 has caused unemployment to hit its highest level in four years nationwide, with the number of people in the London Borough of Haringey claiming jobless benefits rising to 7.7 per cent.

The Club is committed to supporting its staff, players, fans and its local community as we battle through the COVID-19 pandemic together.

In some instances, we have sought to protect jobs by redeploying staff where appropriate, such as those working in our retail outlets as a result of our physical stores being closed.

The Club and its Foundation has a strong track record in delivering job opportunities locally, with more than 3,000 delivered through the stadium development across a range of sectors, including hospitality, security, construction and retail.

Pre-pandemic, local people have been able to come off the street and through the doors of the Foundation’s headquarters, Percy House, to receive job opportunities.

Here, they are met by Employment Advisors such as Jordan Mattis, himself an example of a local person to have found a job through the Club.

With COVID restrictions limiting face-to-face contact, Jordan has continued to stay in touch with those in need of help to find employment, offering one-to-one support.

He said: “My main role is to support and upskill anyone who walks through our doors into employment, traineeships or apprenticeships. Coronavirus has taken out the element of face-to-face interaction so we have had to adapt to new technologies to maintain that communication through our online workshops and show that we are still here.

“Many companies have applied to the furlough scheme and many participants in Haringey have lost employment, leading them to reach out to us. Bridging that gap to build their confidence and get them back into employment is something that’s of paramount importance and something I’m passionate about being from Haringey myself – I’m really proud of what we do.

“The general feeling I get from people is a lack of confidence and lack of motivation, but that is contradictory because they still have the perseverance to want to find a job. They just might have found avenues to access jobs harder than they did before COVID.

“I’ve encountered participants who say they simply don’t want to leave the house – the pandemic is very scary and very real. I’ve had others who are digitally unaware and that’s lowered their confidence because it’s no longer the old school way of handing in a CV, they need help in uploading forms and expressing themselves online. That goes back to our support and what we do – it’s not just about getting someone into employment. It’s about building the determination for someone to become independent.

“Once upon a time, I was that person with no confidence and the support I’ve had from Spurs has taken me here two years later. It’s something that’s very sentimental to me with regards to the support I’ve had here. It’s only right for me to give back and help.”

An example of somebody Jordan has helped support during the pandemic is 18-year-old Paulo Povoas from Tottenham.

Paulo had initially come to the Club and met Jordan via the Percy House drop-in sessions and, having been signposted to a training course delivered by our stadium Catering Partner, Levy Restaurants, was set to work his first match – Spurs v Manchester United on Sunday 15 March, 2020. As we know, that is a match that never went ahead.

He said: “Jordan helped me improve my skills and told me about what jobs were available. He got in touch to say there was a job interview at JD Sports in Tottenham Hale. The week before he called me in to improve my skills and prepare properly. I wasn’t successful and felt de-motivated and didn’t want to apply for jobs anymore. But Jordan got back in touch to say there was an opportunity to work in hospitality at the stadium.

“I came in and he helped me ahead of the induction day. I had my induction day on the Thursday and was supposed to work at Spurs v Man U on the Sunday. The day before is when all the matches were postponed due to COVID.”

Although this particular door closed for Paulo, another opened when he found a job vacancy at Amazon’s depot in nearby Brimsdown, Enfield. Once again, it was Jordan who was there to help.

Paulo continues: “During the first lockdown, I wasn’t successful in applying for jobs because of the amount of companies that were not accepting applications, but Jordan stayed in contact with me the whole time trying to find the best job for me. When I was referred to Amazon by a friend, I was able to ask Jordan for help in preparing for the interview. I was successful and have been working there since November.

“I was happy to know I was finally going to be doing something and not at home all the time. It was good to know I was going to be getting paid for something as well.”

The work of Jordan and the Foundation’s Employment Advisors continues during the current national lockdown. If you are looking for further information, email foundation@tottenhamhotspur.com or call 020 8365 5138 to be put in touch with an advisor.

Jordan concludes: “I am here – we’re just an email away. You can’t come and knock on the door at the moment, but our details are online, you’ll get through to me and we can start supporting you.

“Over the course of the last few years and with the new stadium being built, we’ve created over 3,000 job opportunities for the local community. We’re here not just as a Football Club but to support you and help you gain a career.”