Introducing Matt from Rayleigh

Matt wasn’t looking for work when he started with HeadsUp and had been unemployed for 2 years after making the personal decision to close his successful business. Within this time, he moved to a new house and went through a divorce. He had been having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and trying to cope with anxiety, so wasn’t in a position to look for work.

It took Matt a while to get in touch with HeadsUp and to get on board due to his anxiety and being occupied with other things. He liked the fact that the project wasn’t compulsory and was given time and freedom. He’d worked since the age of 10 so this flexibility was crucial to him. Matt was hoping to refresh his CV as he felt it was outdated and needed re-formatting as he’d not previously needed one whilst running his own business. He also wanted advice on future prospects and what his options might be.

Working with his Peer Support Worker

Matt talked through career ideas with his Peer Support Worker (PSW), discussing experience and skills and how they could fit into different sorts of roles. Support was also available from one of HeadsUp’s Development and Skills Officers (DSO) who helped review his CV, and he was very happy with the final result. He feels his CV is now ‘well written, more to the point and relevant’. He also understands how to tailor his CV to different roles and how to use it as a tool in the application process. Matt feels his motivation has improved along with his confidence to edit and use his CV. The support made Matt feel ‘good, having support rather than sitting around moping not knowing what to do next’.

Building Confidence

He started to see a change in himself and his confidence, and those around him also told him that they had seen a difference. Matt started using FaceTime and Zoom with family members over lockdown, he said ‘I wouldn’t have felt able to do it before, I would have been depressed and moping’. Matt is proud of the achievements he has made, feeling more confident about using his CV which he feels now reflects his successful career history. Throughout his time on the project he has felt reassured by having someone check in with him and give him the opportunity to discuss his future options.

Matt is very appreciative of the support he has received for him to now be able to job search independently. His confidence has been boosted by this support and he feels able to explore different options to get back to work.  Matt says ‘Yeah, I would definitely recommend HeadsUp’

Meet Ty from Braintree

There’s no single “type” of person who comes to HeadsUp. Ty had moved from a successful career in financial services into an even more successful career as a body-builder. He was crowned Mr Universe Musclemania 2013 in Florida- after just two years of targeted training. A spell as a TV host in Kuwait was followed by several years in the USA developing his own brand, a blend of fitness, music and motivation that even saw him sing at The White House. In 2018 he became unwell, and returned to the UK.

In Ty’s words, he knew his “mental health was bad”. He felt “far away from everything”, and struggled to communicate with anyone, including his loved ones. After a period of time he knew that he wanted to get better, to get back to the gym and work on his mind, body and spirit. He felt he could trust the UK and trust the NHS, so he sought help. He was referred to a MIND STaR worker, whose bubbly personality helped him to reconnect with the outside world. When the time was right he was then referred to HeadsUp.

The Impact of my Peer Support Worker

“I saw it was Lottery funded, and I felt like now I could win the Lottery… Just having people believe in you, to almost give a stamp of approval that now you’re ready”, says Ty. “HeadsUp seemed tailored to me: a programme that gets your mind back and helps you get back to work”. He credits the warmth and empathy of his Peer Support Worker (PSW) with helping him to understand his own health; and when things felt tough she was always there with encouragement and support. She helped him to open up, and when the time was right she started to discuss employment opportunities with him. At this point she got a Development and Skills Officer (DSO) involved.

Ty appreciated this extra practical support. Working together with the DSO, they agreed the type of employment that would help him in his aspiration to “grow more and more into a better version of myself”. An updated, restructured and tailored CV helped him to appreciate his achievements thus far and started to open doors. He took part in a HeadsUp online wellbeing workshop which he found incredibly useful: not only was the trainer great, but as part of the process he also learned to use Teams for video calls. He then opted to have his DSO appointments via Teams, appreciating the virtual face to face contact.

As Ty’s confidence grew he also increased involvement with his church, helping to plan virtual events around Easter. He was encouraged to share his talents with the church community further, and taught an online exercise class to fellow worshippers. Again, this supported his confidence and reminded him just how much he had to offer; so when his PSW showed him a job opportunity he was ready to go for it.

Rediscovering a Sense of Purpose

“I’m working now. It’s a local gym, great atmosphere, with the opportunity to build on my qualifications”. When he looks back on his journey to this point he is particularly proud to be teaching a high-intensity training class that he has put together, and to see people enjoying it. He knows that his mum can see a happier, healthier son. She has always been a source of great inspiration to him, and he wants to repay that by making a difference to others. Ty has rediscovered his sense of purpose, and wants his story to help motivate others who are facing their own struggles: he has taken part in podcasts and wants to reduce the stigma people feel regarding mental health.

Ty is proud to recommend the support he has received from HeadsUp, and has some great advice to others when they join the programme:

“Get on that phone, make sure you keep every appointment. Those calls should be cherished- every call was a light in a dark tunnel. Follow through- if you don’t do your part you won’t get as much out of it. Take the advice. The formula works, the structure will work. Trust it.”

Different ways to job hunt!

It has been very hard 15 months or so for people who have been made redundant due to a turn down in business or a business closing permanently. But now that restrictions are being lifted some companies are starting to actively employ new workers.  ‘Normal channels’ such as job seeking web sites and employment agencies are being used and some companies are also asking their current work force if they know of someone who might be interested in working for them.

Job hunting through ‘word of mouth’

Over recent weeks some of our HeadsUp participants have found family members and friends mentioning opportunities within the companies/organisations that they work for themselves. It may not always be the right type of work for the participant, but it just goes to show that there are many different ways to find out about new jobs.

If the job in question wasn’t what you are looking for why not mention it to your friends and family as they might know someone who is interested !


Key Skills – writing your CV

Some sections of your CV can feel pretty straight forward to fill in, for example ‘Work Experience’ – you list any work experience and jobs you’ve had, and under ‘Education’ you list any educations/training you’ve done. But then you get to the ‘Key Skills’ section…..

This section can be really tricky, especially if you haven’t worked before or have a gap in employment. Listing 6-8 skills can seem daunting but here are some tips to help:

Top Tips

  • If you don’t have work experience, think about skills you’ve developed from volunteering or courses you’ve been on, school or other aspects of your life? Have you cared for a family member? Have you helped organise anything within your local community? Because you will have developed skills throughout life without even knowing it.
  • Try to think what things you enjoy and why, because the things you enjoy probably involve skills? For example, if you enjoy crafts you probably have a good eye for detail.
  • Try and make your key skills as relevant as possible to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a job in customer services for example, it’s important to try and show that you are good at communicating.
  • Try and have a mixture of ‘soft skills’ which are universal and harder to measure (such as creativity or adaptability) and ‘hard skills’ which are measurable and specific (such as speaking a foreign language or being able to use a specific computer programme).
  • Google is your friend – if you are finding it hard to think of key skills, search up some information and see if you get inspired!
  • If you feel you are lacking key skills, don’t worry as these will be developed over time. Think about doing volunteering, a course or training or maybe start an apprenticeship. All of these opportunities can help you to build up the skills you have to offer.