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Michael found himself unemployed during the pandemic and was feeling a bit lost. He was trying to find the passion to search for work but didn’t know where to look. His Work Coach at JCP in Minehead referred him to the Work and Health programme at the end of 2020.

“Coming onto the Work and Health programme really helped me. You helped me find the pathway to look at options and potential future employment options.”

Michael had some good work experience in customer services and kitchen work that he gained whilst at college studying for his Level 3 in Animal Management. He wanted to work in his hometown of Minehead so was flexible on the type of work he would do.

His Employment Coach, Loretta, worked with him to get his Right To Work documents in order and started exploring courses and job ideas. Michael said, “This gave me the security that I had someone I could work alongside with, something I had not had before with previous referrals. I felt I had individual support and commitment.

“I am visually impaired so it’s quite a struggle to find employers willing to employ me.”

Michael embraced the training on offer and his Employment Coach organised a funded laptop to enable Michael to access courses. He joined the Seetec Pluss Café Info sessions to get used to speaking in a group environment on Teams and signed up for a Customer Service course via Restore Trust, which he gave a 10 out of 10!

These activities gave Michael a chance to observe others and get an insight into how other people see who he is as a person and share life stories. Michael also had an opportunity to inspire others with his story and to receive extra support from the Training team. He went on to complete a CSCS course.

With the support of his Employment Coach, he started applying for part-time customer service roles. Michael was from a long line of bakers and had a family recipe book dating back 80 years, and he had a real passion for food. As the hospitality sector picked up in his area, he very quickly secured a job in a local café. Although his Mum worked as a Head chef there, Michael secured the role on his own merits. To help him commute to work, his Employment Coach arranged funding for a bike.

Michael is working as a Kitchen Porter/Pot washer. He said, “I’m keeping productive, I’m also out and about and finding that on my days off, my energy levels are higher. My mental health has improved majorly. I’ve started serving ice cream, barista coffees and food.”

Michael started working 10 hours a week but is often asked to work up to 30 hours.

“I would give the Work and Health programme 10/10! I would highly recommend it! For anyone who is feeling a bit low, always remember the motto, ‘Life is too short, make the most of it!’”

Michael is motivated to continue his Animal Management studies as well as working and is looking forward to a bright future!

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

Area: Somerset

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