For Community Impact Week (6 to 12 November) we will be sharing inspirational stories on how we support our customers and transform their lives. From April 2016 to March 2017 we helped over 2,300 customers into work experience or training. Here is one customer’s story.
Billy a Riverside tenant living in Wirral had been out of work for almost four years due to an ongoing health condition. He experienced a loss in confidence, particularly as he lacked the necessary digital skills to do job searches and online applications. This was until he met Riverside’s employment and training officer – Vanessa.
Vanessa supported Billy to overcome the various barriers he experienced to find work by discussing with him his strengths and offering advice, support and information. This helped him to apply for vacancies which suited his skill set and experience.
Billy received support to prepare a curriculum vitae ensuring it positively reflected his many transferable skills and experience. He also had intensive support surrounding effective job search tools, completing online applications and preparations for interviews.
During this time Billy also attended an Employment and Support Allowance medical assessment which found him to be fit for work. This decision affected his confidence and had a negative impact on his mental health. In addition the pressures placed on him from the Job Centre to look for employment caused a significant level of anxiety. Billy feared his benefits may be sanctioned if he did not perform well enough in his job search efforts.
Vanessa offered a consistent level of support to ensure Billy performed well to meet his Jobseeker commitments. In time he developed in confidence and began to recognise his vast and outstanding skill set. His motivation and enthusiasm to find employment grew.
Billy continued to volunteer with a local gardening project which supported his knowledge, experience and expand his skills. He was then offered a job which needed the correct safety footwear so Vanessa applied for a Helping Hands grant. His application was successful and he was able to purchase the footwear needed.
However, after a lengthy work trial, the company lost funding and could not continue to employ Billy. Riverside’s Employment and Support service continues to support tenants for six months when they haven’t sustain their employment so Vanessa continued to support Billy. Then in May 2017 an employment opportunity for a live-in caretaker within Riverside Care and Support came available. Vanessa assisted Billy with the online application form and helped him prepare for the interview. He was delighted to be offered the position.
Billy said: “I’m really thankful for the support I received from Riverside. Vanessa helped me to turn my life around and find a job I really enjoy.
“I didn’t realise at the time that it was a live-in position, but this is an added bonus because I’m much better off financially and I don’t have to pay rent or utilities. I’m so happy and really enjoy the work I do.”
Click here to find out more about this project and Riverside’s approach to Employment and Training.