For many of us our jobs are part of our identity. When we become baristas, engineers or farmers, it is more than a job title, it is a clear definition that gives us a place in the world. When we are out of work, that clear distinction gets lost.
Many people who are unemployed feel they lose part of their identify, and the longer they are away from the work place the harder it becomes. Hopes and dreams fade and aspirations plummet. At this point low self esteem can be as harmful as poor skills for jobseekers.
At Prospects, the employment, education and skills organisation, we work with people from across Cornwall, delivering the Work Programme for the DWP. We help people who have been out of work for more than 12 months who are made to attend our sessions, or face losing their benefits. Some resent being sent to us, they have often lost hope and do not believe we can ever help them return to paid employment, and therefore cannot see why they should come to Prospects.
One person who felt that way was Monica. When she first came to us in Liskeard at New Year, 2015, Monica had very low self esteem and did not think her adviser could help her, she didn’t like the way he kept encouraging her to apply for jobs. But her adviser, Steve, felt differently and worked with Monica to build her confidence and employability skills. Offering personalised and individual support Steve helped Monica apply for jobs and ensured that Monica’s applications highlighted her transferrable skills.
Monica’s job hunting was successful and she was called for three interviews. Steve helped her with interview practice and Monica was offered two of the jobs, one working for McDonald’s Restaurants and the other for Tulip Ltd. Monica opted for the role at McDonald’s as she was keen to work with customers.
Monica worked for McDonald’s for three months, before deciding to look for a different role closer to home. As with all Work Programme participants, Monica was able to return to Prospects and get additional support from her adviser, Steve, for the two years she was on the programme.
More confident and work ready Monica was quickly recruited by Dominos in Bodmin and is again enjoying working with customers. Monica is now keen to progress within the role, and has been highlighted as a potential team leader, where she will also assist with recruiting new staff.
Understanding that everyone’s journey is different is a cornerstone to Prospects work. Monica’s first role at McDonalds was daunting at first, but she grew within it quickly and her new role will ensure she will be dealing with people all of the time, which is all she ever wanted.
Monica had concerns when she first came to Prospects but would recommend anyone wanting to change their lives for the better to get in touch:
“Steve taught me to go for it and realise how much I’m really worth. I now see that I have lots of skills as well as speaking two languages, I have work experience with children with SEND. I was insecure, but Prospects helped. Steve was there to get me the perfect job, giving everything to find the right path, I really appreciate that.”
Speaking about her experiences when she joined she said: “I would have laughed at the time if someone had said I would be doing what I’m doing now, I’d have said ‘there’s no way I’d be able to do something like that’ now I see myself going even further!”
Monica feels very strongly that Prospects has been behind her throughout her time on the Work Programme, and has been keen to share her experience and feedback with other customers.
Prospects is committed to helping to get the south west working. Prospects works across Cornwall delivering the Work Programme helping jobseekers who have been unemployed for 12 months or more back into work through supportive group and individual sessions tailored to their needs. Prospects also deliver the National Careers Service in Cornwall, this free to use service provides information, help and advice to unemployed people, those facing redundancy or anyone hoping to improve their working lives. To find out more about both of these useful services at www.gettingthesouthwestworking.co.uk.