Vicky was looking for a job that would work around the care of her children. Little did she know, that job would be offering the exact support that she received herself from the JETS scheme, to other hopeful jobseekers.

“My name is Vicky and I am a 39 year old single mum. I had always worked full-time until I had children, and once their dad moved out, I began working in a local coffee shop so that I could work around their school hours as much as possible.

“I began studying AAT bookkeeping and accountancy so that I would be able to move back into a career when they are older and leave home. I was employed at an accountancy firm for a very short time before the pandemic, but was placed on furlough in March 2020 and then made redundant in August.

“I started to look for work but was very anxious with everything that was going on in the world and with having not worked or really left the house at all for 5 months. It was a very confusing time for me. I enjoy the independence of working and wanted a job so that I could earn some money to feed my children and so that I could have some purpose in my life, but by then I had created a little bubble of safety around myself and my family.

“After 13 weeks of unemployment, my job coach from my Jobcentre referred me to JETS and I started as a participant in December. We didn’t get very far with the process before the school closed again and I asked my Employment Advisor if I could disengage from the scheme so that I could home school my boys without worrying about finding work. The team were lovely and she called me once a month to check that I was managing and that my mental health was ok.

“As soon as we got a date for the return to school I re-engaged and had a new job coach. I felt like I was a pain because I wanted work around school hours and it seems so hard to find employers who understand this. My Employment Advisor reassured me that he could help me and even suggested that I would be ideal to work with JETS.

“Very soon afterwards the manager contacted me, I was interviewed and here we are today! I was employed as an Assistant Employment Advisor with Prospect Training Services. I work from home, 30 hours a week. The staff are absolutely lovely and the hours are perfect and the management even allowed us to go home early to watch England play in the Euro’s!

“I have gone from walking my children to the school with their rucksacks to collect free food for their lunches, my parents buying their Christmas presents, and anxiety that meant I don’t actually know how I would have made it from one day to the next without my children being absolute hero’s, and my parents being the most fantastic, supportive parents anyone could ask for… to now.

“Now I am back to being my independent self; I am so happy and working with the best team that I have ever worked with. My colleague and I text each other daily and have the best working relationship and make the best team! I have found that my experience is ideal for my job as well, because so many of the participants that I speak to are struggling with the same anxieties that I had. Some aren’t sure if they are ready to go back to work, some can’t wait to get back to work but are anxious about Covid or can’t find work due to so many other people being out of work.

“I do tell small parts of my history with some of them and they do start opening up when they realise that we are not here to judge and that we understand and want to help them to find the best job that we can for them.

“Several times lately, I have found myself saying to a client ‘consider us as your wingman while you are looking for work’. I regularly put the phone down after a call and think how lovely someone is and that I really hope my call has given them hope. It’s very rewarding to hear back from a client who has found a new job are how excited they are, and I wish every single one of them success and the same happiness that I have found.”

In partnership with Prospect Training Services. The Work and Health JETS programme is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and the European Social Fund.

Area: Gloucestershire

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