Created on 10 December 2020

It’s not all gloom/There are still employers hiring!

Essential retailers are striving to meet considerable demand and need new staff for this. For those who are willing and able this can be a good time for people with limited employment history or relevant experience to get into the workforce.

One such person is a participant I met in February at a Wellbeing Event held in Basildon Job Centre. Lots of different service providers were present on the day, as were many customers of the Job Centre. To cope with the anxiety all this induced the young woman was accompanied by her sister who encouraged her to join the waiting list for HeadsUp after I described the support we could offer her.

When she rose to the top of the waiting list, just a fortnight later, I called her and as she would tell me later when I exited her from the project, she was so glad she picked up as she rarely felt able to answer phone calls at the time. The following week I enrolled her and after that there was time for just one more appointment prior to the first lockdown, at which I re-wrote her CV. She had a limited work history, just an apprenticeship in a different sector to what she now wanted which had lasted just a few weeks before falling through and before that volunteering in a charity shop, but we drew out the qualities she had shown in these roles.

The young woman declined the offer of support throughout lockdown, preferring to engage when we could see each other face-to-face again and when we could finally meet she hit the ground running, taking up my suggestion of volunteering in another charity shop to get something recent on her CV and to gain another reference. We did interview practice ahead of making a slew of applications together.

Prior to the second lockdown, I heard that B&M were accepting an application form handed into store and I filled it out on her behalf as she has dyslexia. It required references from two former employers so we put down the charity shops and I helped her plan what to ask as she called them up to check it was okay and ask who she should put down as a contact. She handed the form into the shop immediately after the appointment and was called back just 3 hours later asking her to come in for an induction, which she called me up immediately to pass on the good news. She was not supposed to start until the day after the induction, but custom was so busy they put her onto the shop floor the same day still wearing her civvies!

She felt much more confident than when she started on the project and was very grateful, bringing me a big tub of chocolates by way of thanks!

From a HeadsUp Peer Support Worker

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