James joined the Work Programme, the government initiative to support people into work after being out of work for some time. The Work Programme in Somerset is run by Prospects, the employment, education, training and care services company, who supports people to find the right employment for their skills and talents.
Although well qualified, graduate James had not worked since leaving university. He dressed well, was polite and likeable, but his lack of confidence held him back. Nigel, his Prospects adviser, commented: “It was obvious that James would be an asset to any company, but he just couldn’t see it.” Nigel coached James helping him realise he had good transferrable skills that were in demand from employers.
To boost James’ confidence he volunteered at Prospects Wells office, undertaking reception and administrative work. James enjoyed the work and Nigel secured a further eight weeks work experience covering customer service and administration.
James thrived and shortly after joined Somerset Care for additional work experience. Keen to work in an administrative role James was sure he did not want to work as a carer. At Somerset Care’s Street care home, Southlawns, James was able to complete his work experience in different departments. His talents were soon recognised and Catherine, the manager of Southlawns and her team encouraged James to consider working with the elderly residents, using his transferrable skills, hobbies and interests. When the eight week placement ended James opted to stay on as a volunteer at Southlawns.
James worked closely with the residents at Southlawns, he would share books and play board games providing essential social stimulation. He commented: “Although I was looking for administrative and office roles I ended up spending most of my time with life history books and Scrabble games. I enjoyed this a lot, and ended up carrying on past the eight weeks the placement was supposed to last.”
James left the Work Programme, but Nigel continued to support him encouraging James to apply for the role of activities co-ordinator at Southlawns in Street. James was the ideal candidate and achieved his goal of a permanent job, and is now a full time member of the team at Southlawns. Keen to learn more, James has signed up for dementia training, this will give him a better insight into supporting the residents and will hopefully help him develop his career at Somerset Care.
Catherine, manager at Southlawns, spoke on his appointment “James is an asset to Southlawns. After gentle encouragement, James started working one-to-one with several of our residents. He supported them with completing life stories and joined them for games of cards and Scrabble. James gave a very good interview and was successful with his application for Activities Co-ordinator. There is talk of James developing a men’s club for our male residents, and using his knowledge of technology, support the residents with Skyping family and friends. James has been a great help to us all and is a welcome addition to our team.”
The Prospects Group provides tailored education, employment, training and care products and services for people at all stages of life. Each year Prospects inspires more than 500,000 people to develop their potential and transform their lives. More than 1,400 professional and skilled colleagues provide practical support to the local communities they are based in across the UK and internationally. Prospects is one of the largest employee owned companies in the UK. It is also a Leader in Diversity and ranked in the top 100 index by the National Centre for Diversity.
About Somerset Care
• Somerset Care provides residential and nursing care for older people in 30 care homes in Somerset and on the Isle of Wight, and also manages a facility for adults with physical disabilities in Taunton.
• Somerset Care provides over 22,000 hours of community support every week to people living in their own homes in Somerset, North and West Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset, Hampshire and Surrey.
• Somerset Care’s training company Acacia Training & Development provides training for company staff, external companies and individual learners across the South West.
• Somerset Care provides care and support to adults with learning disabilities in a variety of settings across Southern England under the ‘Realise’ brand.
• Somerset Care’s award-winning ‘Petals’ dementia care service is available in ten care homes across Southern England and to people living in their own homes.
• Somerset Care website: www.somersetcare.co.uk
• Somerset Care Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SomersetCareGroup/
• Somerset Care Twitter: @SomersetCare