Ricardo*, 24, arrived in England in July 2015 from Portugal. He left the comfort of his home town and travelled to a different city where he had no friends and family to rely on. Ricardo chose to travel to the UK to help improve his employment opportunities having worked with the local government as a HR trainee specialist for a year in Portugal, before his contract ended.
After moving away from the devastating economic situation of Portugal Ricardo was still unemployed after three months and reluctantly turned to jobseekers for financial support.
What Prospects did
Desperate to find work Ricardo was signposted to the National Careers Service at the Bromley By Bow Centre after signing on. He was introduced to Prospects’ National Careers adviser, Josephine, and together they chatted about Ricardo’s previous work experience. Josephine assessed that Ricardo was not confident about going straight into work in the UK as the work culture differed and he was concerned he would not fit in to a new environment.
Together they completed an Action Plan, which helped Ricardo visualise the steps he needed to take and plan how he would achieve his goals. The first priority was to create a relevant CV that could be sent out to organisations. Ricardo attended a CV workshop run by the National Careers Service to develop his CV.
To overcome Ricardo’s nervousness Josephine spoke to him about voluntary work. She explained the concept of what voluntary work was and how it could help improve confidence and break down misconceptions about the working culture. Ricardo was open to working in any sector but with his experience was keen to work in local government, in HR or in an office environment.
Aware of volunteering opportunities at the Bromley by Bow centre Josephine helped Ricardo complete a voluntary work application form, giving details of his previous work experience and highlighting Ricardo’s transferable skills. Josephine proof read Ricardo’s applications and helped him prepare for interviews encouraging him to use the STAR technique, S situation; T task; A action; R result, to elaborate on his skills and ensure he answered questions fully. Throughout the process Josephine reminded Ricardo that his Portuguese experiences were relevant when applying for jobs.
Ricardo met the development team at the Bromley by Bow Centre and discussed the type of work involved. The team develop funding bids, organise centre funding events and marketing, the work appealed and Ricardo was keen to learn more about the concept of marketing to improve his skills set and help him understand the UK working culture.
Outcomes and results
Ricardo was offered a voluntary placement at the Bromley By Bow centre. Initially he was concerned how he would perform and kept in touch with Josephine who supported him. Ricardo’s skills were improving and he started networking around the centre. Ricardo’s work proved so vital to the team that shortly after joining it was decided that a similar role should be advertised.
Ricardo consulted Josephine and they agreed the role was a perfect opportunity. The vacancy was advertised publically, however, Ricardo felt confident that he could perform the tasks set. Ricardo was successful and appointed Development Team Assistant. He commented “This was a very proud moment for me as this was my first job in the UK. I feel without the help and support of my National Careers Adviser, Josephine, I would not have had the opportunity to complete a voluntary placement in an office environment or land myself a paid job.”
Ricardo added: “The National Careers Service staff were very helpful when I first accessed the service. I knew Josephine wanted me to do well. Once I started my voluntary placement I noticed a significant change in my confidence and the way I held myself. I was able to communicate with much more ease and confidence and my IT skills were improving. If I had not contacted the National Careers Service at the Bromley By Bow Centre I would not have heard about the opportunities that are available that helped me advance in my career. It has shown me that there are several different types of jobs available and I do not have to be restricted to one type of job. I am looking forward to seeing what opportunities are available.
“The best thing was how reassuring my adviser was she gave me hope that my gamble to move to the UK to pursue my career was worth it. My confidence dipped during the time I was searching for jobs, I started to feel really hesitant to have simple conversations. If I had not contacted the National Careers Service then I most definitely would have not found work. I can see that I would have been still searching for employment and if I had found employment it would have been in the retail sector which is not where I had envisioned myself. I am very thankful and glad that I had the opportunity.”
* Not his real name.