From the top of the chain, to the bottom of the ladder

After a 27-year career in retail, Andy was made redundant from his established role as a Regional Visual Merchandising Manager, due to the closure of stores during the pandemic. He maintained a positive outlook, determined to jump back into work right away, however the disappointment of getting no responses to his applications began to take its toll.

“I’ve always worked, ever since I left school. I’ve got two children and a nice house, so I was thinking, ‘how am I going to provide now?’ I reached out to other people that I knew had been made redundant and we tried to stay really positive, but I was sending my CVs to jobs that I knew I was right for and just wasn’t hearing anything back.

Reaching out for help

“It made me really anxious, and the hardest time was around Christmas. I wasn’t hearing anything back from my applications and I wasn’t earning money. We had some financial help from our family, but it was a really depressing time.

“I was referred to the JETS programme in January and started working with my Employment Advisor Hayley. I was really pro-active in my job search, so Hayley was just great to have for extra support and encouragement, which I really needed because my confidence was being knocked by the number of jobs that I wasn’t getting responses for.

A different outlook on life

“Through a contact that I had at another well-known retailer, I had a virtual interview with the Regional Manager, and we talked about my previous experience and skills. Soon after, I was offered a role there as a Visual Merchandising Manager!

“I felt great about it and I did feel a bit emotional. I’d applied for many jobs and continuously heard nothing back, so to finally be offered this job was amazing. I finally thought, ‘it’s ok, I’m not going to have to sell the house.’ People build up an idea of how you want your life to be and it really can sometimes just disappear. It’s made me think differently about things and realise what really matters.

A sense of purpose again

“Knowing that I have financial security again has made such a difference. It’s still challenging to see all of the restrictions going up and down, but it’s nice to back in a store, to be part of a team and to have some purpose again.

“If there’s help out there, don’t think that you don’t need it. Just have the conversation because JETS really are there to support you.”

The Work and Health JETS programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund.

Area: North West

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