Case Studies

Barriers

Corin was a participant on the Tamworth Transition programme designed for those who have moved from ESA to JSA/UC recently.

Corin had been unemployed for 3+ years.

He had been on ESA previously for some time.

Corin has behaviour and depression barriers which he is aware of.

Presentation

Corin presented with:-

  1. A) a belief that his cv promoted him as a retail worker which wasn’t suited to his temperment
  2. B) that he felt unfulfilled by entry level posts but would be considered to old to retrain
  3. C) that his work related skills were out of date (mainly around engineering his had done when he first left school)
  4. D) that he had lost confidence and belief that he could move into a career post
  5. E) that he was unwilling to apply for minimum wage retail work

Turning Point

Corins  turning point was during the CV development session where we introduced him to skills profiles rather than employment history CVs. Corin reported that using the profile to apply for work resulted in being called to interviews for technician based roles. He also recognised the value of speaking more positively about past employers which may have been an issue at past interviews.

Route forward

Through discussion in the 1 to 1 mentoring sessions we agreed that a route forward for Corin would use his  new profile and work on refining his interview skills.

Outcome

Corin is now employed as a production technician, and will have further in work support to address reservations he has about the role .

The difference

‘Its not perfect, but at least I am no longer seen as a minimum wage retail worker’

Referral Path

Dennis met with a work mentor following participation on a JCP programme – Transition – with a local provider. At the end of the Transition programme the provider signposted Dennis to Skillsmax.

Dennis is a CBC tenant living in Dunstable with both physical and mental health barriers

Barrier to work – candidate beliefs

Dennis had secured local voluntary work as part of the Transition programme – but was finding it difficult to progress into paid work. Dennis felt that his lack of confidence in an interview situation made him not competitive and that he ultimately lost out on paid work because he gave a poor interview.

Part of the anxiety Dennis felt was in relation to the impact on debt working would have. Dennis was unsure of what the impact would be, but wasn’t confident that he would be able to manage more debt chasing.

IAG

An IAG was conducted within a week of initial referral with a qualified practitioner, who was able to provide an unbiased, recorded document

Action Plan

An action plan was developed with Dennis which focused outcomes:

  • Exploring the use of employment agencies which could offer short term paid work and a lower level of interview process
  • Completion of a better off calculation
  • A review of pain management
  • Alternative methods of relaxing prior to meeting new people

It was agreed that Dennis would continue to work directly with the IAG practitioner acting as her work mentor.

Activity

The work mentor recommended and implemented the following:

  • Interview skills which focused on a crib sheet, and informed the interviewer of nerves in an interview, but confidence at work
  • Participation in support groups for pain management

Regular drop ins at the Skillsmax centre in order to job search

Title

The work mentor introduced Dennis to an employment agency who were beginning a project in Luton for 5-6 weeks paid work. This would involve low level manual work within a small team.

The work mentor organised for another job seeker, who knew Dennis to apply also.

Both Dennis and the other candidate were offered starts with the agency.

Dennis has “taken leave” from his voluntary post for the job period, with the option of returning if the agency is unable to provide consistent work.

Additional Outcomes

Dennis feels

  • he has a safe place to drop into to continue his job search
  • he has a greater level of confidence starting work as he already knows someone

he doesn’t necessarily need to always look for permanent work and that agencies can offer work access that is appropriate for him

Referral Path

Kirsty met with a work mentor following a referral from JCP at Grays. Kirsty is a single  parent and a CBC tenant living in Grays.

Barrier to work – candidate beliefs

Kirsty believed that her lack of previous work history, together with being a single parent put her at a disadvantage. Kirsty had returned to education at the local FE College two years ago to study GCSEs with the hope that this would improve her chances of working in the Health and Care sector. Kirsty also believed that her lack of driving licence had an impact of her job search success.

IAG

An IAG was conducted within a week of initial referral with a qualified practitioner, who was able to provide an unbiased, recorded document

Action Plan

An action plan was developed with Kirsty which focused short term outcomes related to:

  • A revised CV
  • Initial job search training
  • Exploring the Health & Care sector in the local area which would value Kirstys willingness to keep investing in learning
  • Completion of a better off calculation

It was agreed that Kirsty would continue to work directly with the IAG practitioner acting as her work mentor.

Activity

The work mentor recommended and implemented the following:

  • Interview skills which focused on “less is more” and preparation of most common questions
  • Participation in ICT training in order to strengthen job search and in work skills
  • Progression planning to support higher level health/care jobs

Support in completing application forms

Outcome

Kirsty and the work mentor applied for 4 key roles in the local area, which offered some flexibility of working patterns, did not require substantial travel and which would support further learning. 1 employer responded favourably, offering Kirsty an interview the following week. The work mentor accompanied Kirsty to the interview, allowing further Interview Skills support, and waited outside to help ‘unpick’ the interview and offer post interview support.

Kirsty contacted the employer immediately after the interview, to offer thanks for their time and reiterate her interest in the company and the role.

Additional Outcomes

Kirsty feels

  • She can continue with further learning whilst working
  • She can focus on the next action plan – learn to drive
  • She has a route to 1 to 1 training for ICT Skills locally, which is flexible enough to fit around her new job and her childcare commitments

Referral Path

Daniel met with a work mentor following a referral from JCP via a DPS contract.

Daniel is single.

Barrier to work – candidate beliefs

Daniel believed that his lack of long term employment history put employers off offering him employment. His previous work history, mainly in the hotel industry, consisted of a lot of short term temporary contracts,which in itself affected Daniels confidence and self-esteem.

Daniel decided he would like to apply for a contract at McDonalds as it would be long term and give him a different set of skills. Daniel hadn’t had much success with online applications and felt he would need some help ‘selling his skills’ together with some interview coaching to improve his chance of success. 

IAG

An IAG session was conducted with a Mentor within a week of intial referral,who was able to provide an unbiased, recorded plan of the barriers identified and the steps needed to overcome these.

Action Plan

An action plan developed with Daniel which focused short term outcomes related to:

  • A revised CV
  • Initial job search training to identify long term work opportunities
  • Identifying personal skills that could be recorded in his online application forms
  • Practicing typical interwiew questions, using STAR technique 
  • Correct use of body language within an interview situation
  • Completion of a better off calculation

It was agreed that Daniel would continue to work directly with the Mentor.

Activity

The Mentor recommended and implemented the following:

  • Interview skills which focused on STAR, Situation, Task, Actions and Results, delivery of most common questions
  • Participation in completion of online applications, highlighting relevant experience and strengths, using positive action words
  • Improving CV to promote recent experience and personal skills
  • Constructing a cover letter to use in the future with his CV

Outcome

Daniel and the Mentor applied for 3 job applications online for permanent roles in the local area, which did not require substantial travel.

McDonalds responded favourably, offering Daniel an interview the following week. The Mentor accompanied Daniel to the interview, allowing further interview skills support just before the interview, and waited outside to help ‘unpick’ the interview and offer post interview support.

Daniel received an offer of employment on a full-time and permanent contract. Although this is not the end goal, it is good experience for him to move forward into the Hote/Catering industry and it will improve his confidence ans self-esteem.

Daniel received post program support an was keen to establish his views on the overall effectiveness of the program and its relevance to his successful journey into long term work and its benefits.

Additional Outcomes

Daniel feels:

  • He can continue with further training, whilst earning
  • He can focus on improving personal finances
  • He can improve his team skills and customer service skills

Referral Path

Richard met with a work mentor following a referral from JCP in St Albans to the Buzz Programme in February 2019. Richard has always worked on a self-employed basis but has struggled to get work painting, decorating or tiling due to his past offending history. Richard is now 55 years old.

Richard decided he would like the opportunity of speaking to someone from the Buzz Programme to get continuity of support and look at alternative ways to grow his business.

Barrier to work-candidate beliefs

Richard believed that work enquiries had decreased because of Brexit uncertainty, his lack of advertising on social media and due to local competition. Despite having 25 years experience and being a bright and positive person, the knock backs had affected Richards confidence and self-esteem.

IAG

An IAG session was conducted within a fortnight of initial referral with a qualified practitioner, who was able to provide an unbiased, recorded plan of the barriers identified and the steps needed to overcome these within a Business and Draft Work Plan.

Business Concept and Draft Work Plan

A business concept plan was developed with Richard with focused short term outcomes to:

  • A revised business plan developed incorporating challenges relating to business of decorating and refurbishment of homes and businesses.
  • The need for an eye catching business card design.
  • Initial research of socila media sites and their effectiveness for promoting business.
  • I identifying networking events to promote his business.
  • Prepare short videos for social media, incorporating himself undertaking work in his own home, to provide his own skills, workmanship and correct use of tools.
  • Research general plumbing courses to increase skill set.

It was agreed that Richard would continue to work directly with the IAG practitioner acting as his work mentor.

Activity

The work mentor recommended and implemented the following:

  • Comparison of availability of work from local builders on new housing developments which focused on regular employment and pay rates.
  • Plan a realistic customer group requiring regular repairs.
  • Reflect on customers key needs and the importance of customer satisfaction.
  • Participation in networking events to events to explain his skills.
  • Completion of social media posts as advertisements, highlighting relevant experience and strengths, using positive wording.
  • After completion of work, to contacts clients for feedback, as well as to encourage positive feedback to be left via social media accounts to build his reputation.
  • Comparison of liability insurance cover and cost involved.
  • Discussion and planning of cash flows for year ahead, require to accompany the business plan.

Outcome

Richard and the work mentor researched business opportunities and potential customers. Applied for potential plumbing training opportunities to offer an inclusive refurbishment package.

Richard was delighted to receive financial support to fund the printing of business cards. He received help in getting his business onto Facebook, Linked In and Instagram, with regular photo/film updates on work undertaken, which improved his confidence and self-esteem. Richard has received fortnightly contact during the programme, and was keen to establish his views on the overall effectiveness of the programme and its relevance to his successful journey into promoting his business and improving his skills.

Additional Outcomes

Richard feels:

  • He has ongoing 1-2-1 support to discuss and plan work and any financial issues.
  • He has greater understanding of the steps required to apply for the New Enterprise Allowance.
  • He has the business cards to display at every opportunity.
  • He can focus on improving the quality of his invoices and undertake regular book keeping.
  • He has improved his network of team skills that he may need to draw upon for occasional elements of help for particular projects e.g. waste removal.

Referral Path

Luke met with his work mentor following a referral from his JCP work coach. Luke 23, has never had paid work, but has undertaken voluntary work through the Princes Trust and worked part time within a charity shop. Luke, having autism himself, has to support his Mum, who has Fibromyalgia and his brother who has ADHD.

Barrier to work – candidate beliefs

Luke believed that employers were put off by his lack of paid employment, but the hope of finding long term employment was therefore affected by his lack of experience. Despite being an intelligent and caring person, the knock backs had affected Lukes confidence.

Luke decided he would like to apply for part time work in the retail sector to see if he could cope with the busy environment on the shop floor. He needed practice with online applications and felt he would need some help with some interview coaching to improve his chance of sucess.

IAG

An IAG session was conducted within a fortnight of initial referral with the work mentor, who was able to provide an unbiased, recorded plan of the barriers identified and the steps needed to overcome these.

Action Plan

An action plan was developed with Luke with focused short-term outcomes related to:

  • A revised CV incorporating recent voluntary work
  • Initial job search training to identify potential retail positions
  • Identify personal skills that could be recorded in his online application forms
  • Practicing typical interview questions, researching company information to prepare for potential interviews
  • Correct use of body language and posture within an interview situation
  • Agreement that Luke would continue to work directly with the work mentor to discuss ongoing problems, discuss solutions and recommendations

Activity

The work mentor recommended and implemented the following:

  • Interview skills which focused on delivery of most common questions
  • Participation in completion of online applications, highlighting relevant experience and strengths, using positive action words 
  • Encouragement of taking time to read and relax to find a sense of calm, therefore prompting sleep
  • Discussing the benefits of keeping a food diary to pace calorie intake

Outcome

Luke and the work mentor researched and applied for potential opportunities with larger retail companies, completing applications online. JD Sports offered an interview two weeks into the programme. The work mentor met with Luke to discuss and prepare for the interview, and discussed the benefits of the part time role, the hours would be increased gradually on the approach to Christmas, allowing further experience to grow, but still provide care for his family members.

Luke was delighted, as he received an offer of 8 hours part time work, over 2 days per week that would incorporate training in customer service handling, stock display and warehouse storage. It is an excellent experience for him to move into the Retail Industry and it will improve his confidence and self-esteem.

Luke received ongoing programme support including benefits advice and ‘better off’ calculations. He was keen to receive help to apply for a provisional driving license and increase his independence in the future. Luke has enjoyed the overall effectiveness of the programme and its impact on his successful journey into securing retail work and its benefits. He was happy he had found a successful balance with his family commitments.

Additional Outcomes

Luke feels:

  • He can discuss family problems, rather than keep his frusrations and concerns within
  • He can focus on improving his CV with work experiences 
  • He has improved his team skills and customer service skills 
  • He has developed a network of colleagues he can approach with work place problems enjoying their sense of humour and support
  • He has a variety at work and the opportunity to ease himself into the environment gradually
  • He has developed strategies to pace his meals on work days and limit the size portions
  • He has found quiet time for himself, within the local library, choosing additional books
  • He has developed his daily reading to relax and promote sleep

Referral Path

Sally met with a mentor following a referral from JCP in Gloucester to the My Solo Step programme. Sally is 19 years old and hasn’t had any work experience due to lack of confidence and mental health problems.

Barrier to work-candidate beliefs

Sally believed that employers were put off by her lack of experience and realised she needed to take steps to improve her chances of employment, but also try different environments to see what she could cope with. Despite wanting to make changes and have positive activities in her life, she felt limited unless someone was there to accompany her.

IAG

An IAG session was conducted within a fortnight of initial referral with a supportive practitioner, who was able to provide an unbiased, recorded plan of the barriers identified and the steps needed to overcome these.

Action Plan

An action plan was developed with Sally with focused short-term outcomes that related to:

  • A revised CV incorporating recent voluntary work
  • Initial search of volunteering opportunities to gain experience of atmospheres and roles
  • Identifying personal avenues of support such as the Youth Support Team at Prospects to continue with motivation,  potential courses but ultimately finding her path
  • Look at personal wellbeing, diet, sleep patterns and avenues of enjoyment, such as crafting
  • It was agreed that Sally would continue to communicate with the mentor through social media
  • Build a network of support, besides finding a suitable counsellor

Activity

The mentor recommended and implemented the following:

  • Attended a craft session locally with Sally, which focused on the learner being confident that she could cope with the activities and the environment, with further funding for additional sessions
  • Participation in a one day taster session, in a voluntary capacity in a cafe to see if this would be something Sally would enjoy
  • Attend a local Prospects Youth Support Team

Outcome

Sally and the mentor researched potential crafting group sessions and tried one taster, proving successful, with funding to go to further sessions.

Sally has enjoyed the 1-2-1 sessions with her Skillsmax Mentor and has made structure to her week, encouraged to attend additional activities with Prospects on a further 2 days, pleased that she has coped with the small groups at Prospects, a step up from 1-2-1 training sessions

Sally has considered the opportunities of taking Maths and English GCSE qualifications in the new year to increase her prospects of employment.

Sally found the course with Skillsmax to be beneficial, having built up a good relationship with her mentor, building up her support network, trying different environments and setting herself goals for the New Year, including finding retail voluntary placement to try, deciding the cafe wasn’t ideal for her.

Sally has built up her confidence and self-esteem, but occasionally has relapses.

Sally received post programme support and was keen to establish her views on the overall effectiveness of the programme and its relevance to her improved confidence levels due to support she now has in place.

Additional Outcomes

Sally feels:

  • She can see the benefits of doing volunteering but will seek the right placement
  • She will continue to improve her CV with volunteering experience and future qualifications
  • She has improved the structure to her week, which has improved her motivation
  • She has a better support network, which is vital to ongoing wellbeing

 

Referral Path

Thomas met with a Skillsmax work mentor following a referral from his JCP work coach. Thomas has never had paid work in his young life. Thomas is now 18 years old.

Barrier to work-candidate beliefs

Thomas didn’t understand his own barriers to gaining employment and believed that employment would be easy to gain in this country and ultimately abroad working with animals or agriculture related. Thomas has dyspraxia and autism and gets overwhelmed easily, panicking when he has insufficient time to get used to a new idea. The hope of finding long term employment was therefore affected by his lack of experience and perception of geographic distance. His reliance on public transport to travel to work and the distance required to travel, were not always realistic.

Despite being a bright and positive person with a keen interest in animals and their welfare, Thomas realised that undertaking voluntary work would increase the chance of finding paid employment and signed up to undertake a 12 week course with the Princes Trust. This has given Thomas the chance to be independent with others his own age, travelling on public transport in a wider geographical area. Thomas decided he would like to undertake voluntary work until suitable paid employment materialised, feeling this would keep structure to his week and enable him to access a reference to give employers. Thomas has been given suggestions for apps to use on his telephone, to enable him to undertake research into the suitability of employment or voluntary work by checking his travel arrangements prior to applying for opportunities that may be too far from home.

IAG

An IAG session was conducted within a fortnight of initial referral with a qualified practitioner, who was able to provide an unbiased, recorded plan of the barriers identified and steps needed to overcome these.

Action Plan

An action plan was developed with Thomas with focused short-term outcomes related to:

  • Initial job search training to identify potential job roles working with animals
  • Identifying personal skills that could be recorded in his online application plans
  • Practicing typical interview questions, researching company information to prepare for potential interviews
  • Correct use of telephone apps to undertake research into voluntary opportunities though do-it.org
  • Continue with driving lessons with family members to increase his independence once passed
  • To attend interview to research the suitability of the Princes Trust and the benefits to himself

Activity

The work mentor recommended and implemented the following:

  • Interview skills which focus on delivery of most common questions in preparation for the Princes Trust interview
  • Participation in completion of online applications, highlighting relevant experience and strengths, using positive action words
  • Familiarisation with telephone apps to check distance and travel plans, when considering potential jobs
  • Staying in communication with Thomas during the 12 weeks duration of the programme and post programme to ensure Thomas remained focused

Outcome

Thomas has had his confidence increased by undertaking the 12 week training with the Princes Trust and has made several friend. He now has a wide range of skills to interest employers when applying for jobs. Overall he feels ‘more equipped to cope with life’ and applied for potential opportunities with companies.

Thomas has arranged to return to Oxfam as a volunteer, to highlight additional skills to employers, as well as his commitment.

His team skills and communication skills developed from working on projects in the community, have given Thomas confidence, which has led to a social life, where previously he felt isolated living in a rural location. The work mentor arranged a telephone interview for Thomas, before arranging a face to face interview, allowing him to get used to the idea of joining their programme. Further interview practice was undertaken just before the interview, the work mentor helped to ‘unpick’ the interview and offer post interview support. Thomas was delighted, as he received an offer of a 12 week programme, that would incorporate a weeks residential stay in Devon.Thomas received post programme support and was keen to establish his views on the overall effectiveness of the programme and its  to his successful journey into work and its benefits.

Additional Outcomes

Thomas feels:

  • He can cope with the physical elements of team projects
  • He can update and improve his CV with work experiences
  • He has improved his team skills and being able to listen to instructions and give ideas
  • Others face similar barriers to himself and he can empathise with what other go through
  • He understands the necessity for planning with tasks
  • He has gained a social connection from the group which he will carry forward