IET Connect's Gerry Austin speaks at a recent event.
Spreading the word about the IET Benevolent Fund’s many great services.
The IET Benevolent Fund, IET Connect, provides lifelong support for members of the IET and their families - from career and benefits advice through to helping towards the costs of care and independence.
Gerry Austin, IET Connect’s external relations manager, has been out on the road since joining the charity 12 months ago, briefing businesses, universities and training providers all around the UK about IET Connect’s confidential services.
Gerry has been meeting training, educational and welfare staff, students, apprentices and other IET members, as well as HR professionals. She’s been to large businesses like Selex, EADS and Rolls Royce, and also SMEs, to explain how early intervention by IET Connect can help stop difficulties getting out of hand.
On all of her visits, Gerry’s message is consistent - the sooner IET Connect can step in to help, the better the chances of someone continuing successfully on their educational or career path.
If IET members or their families run into difficulty, they are encouraged to contact the IET Connect Helpline as soon as possible. Experienced in-house staff will discuss options to help alleviate a situation causing anxiety or affecting health or wellbeing.
Help might be through referral to a free legal helpline, advice or support to help deal with stress, illness or disability, or individual outplacement to get back into work.
Financial assistance may also be available to help towards the costs of emergencies, living, care, disability and, in some cases, counselling. The aim is to help people to stay on course if adversity strikes.
Importantly for employers, the assistance available to IET members means that those who encounter difficulties in their lives can be helped to remain effective, and ultimately stay, at work. What’s more, it may also mean that employers can retain highly valued colleagues, and avoid the time, cost and disruption of having to recruit and train replacements.
IET Connect can offer advice and support at all stages of life. It recognises that every person’s situation is unique and that there is no such thing as a standard response. It also knows that when a crisis strikes, help may be needed quickly.
The good news is that since Gerry started on her mission, many more students and working members have been in touch with IET Connect’s Helpline and have benefitted from the charity’s services. Here is a selection of positive feedback that’s been received:
“I don’t have words to show my gratitude towards the help and support that you gave me in the hour of my need. I assure you all will go smoothly between my landlord and me in terms of rent payment.”
“I would like to say how much your personal, caring and supportive attitude has lifted my spirits over the past few months. Living alone, this is such a boost and has been worth much more than money. It has encouraged me to face these problems with a much more positive and hopeful attitude than I could have done without you caring.”
Employers have also been very grateful for IET Connect's support for their staff and have thanked the charity:
“I would like to express personal thanks to you and your colleagues from the IET for the level of support that you have given to one of our staff members and his family… I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work together to support [them] in their time of need.”
To discuss a visit to a workplace, university or apprentice scheme, please contact Gerry Austin on +44 20 7344 5477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’d like to talk about something that’s causing you concern, please call the IET Connect Helpline (Mon to Fri, 9:30 to 17:30) on +44 20 7344 5498 or 0845 685 0685 (UK only) or email email@example.com.