Sunderland graduate offers free suits for unemployed people and students to help them attend interviews
Smart lad Darren Tate is helping Sunderland students look the part.
The University of Sunderland graduate set up Suitability, which provides suits for men who cannot afford them, as well as employment advice and support, three years ago.
Now he has extended the service to help students look good for graduation.
The 38-year-old, from Sunderland, was inspired by his full-time job as an employment advisor.
“The first suit I donated was my own for a young gentleman on my caseload and he went into his interview looking and feeling confident and he was successful, and Suitability was born,” he explained.
“There is already a fantastic service for women, so I wanted to create the male equivalent.
“Suitability is a Community Interest Company and offers free interview clothing to unemployed men across the North East, supporting them to not only look good but feel confident to succeed when attending their interviews.”
It all began in 2018, when Darren used his parents’ garage and loft to store donations from friends and family.
After getting the keys to a large storage unit, which he could use for free for nine months, Suitability grew from strength to strength.
Darren, who graduated from Sunderland with a Sport and Exercise Development degree in 2002, said: “We've had some amazing people and businesses get involved with clothing drives as well as retailers Next and Master Debonair donating some wonderful clothing to support our cause.
“We have even received some fantastic suits from ITV weatherman Ross Hutchinson, comedian Jason Manford and Sunderland AFC legend Kevin Ball.
“We have also gained more referral partnerships with local employability programmes as well as local Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) services.”
Now Darren is helping Sunderland’s male students get suited and booted for graduation.
Wendy Price heads up the University’s We Care team: “Graduation ceremonies are an event many of our students look forward to and can’t wait to attend,” she said.
"However, for some, not having a suit to wear, and not being able to afford to buy one, can be a huge barrier.
“We are delighted Darren has kindly offered to support our male students by providing clothing for their graduation ceremonies.”
Suitability is always looking for good quality suits, shirts, ties, trousers, shoes and self-care products.
To donate, email: [email protected]