A black mark on her name

Vikki had battled through a long three years of unemployment before joining the JETS programme. She had been dismissed from her previous job, which meant that finding further work was proving to be extremely challenging, due to a negative reference from her employer that was holding her back. She was referred to the JETS programme, where she was supported by Lucinda, to help break through those barriers and get her back into deserved employment.

“During my job search, I received so many knockbacks. I would pass the application and interview stages with flying colours, but as soon as they asked for my references, the job would be taken away from me. I got really despondent, and my mental health suffered as a result.

‘In this together’

“I was referred to JETS around April 2021 and I went into it with an open mind, but I’d been through numerous programmes in the past and nothing had come from it. But actually, I couldn’t have been more wrong because joining JETS was the best thing I ever did.

“Lucinda and I were in touch whenever I needed her really. We had fortnightly appointments, but if a job came up in between then, she would always be in touch. The most valuable thing she gave me was moral support. She always encouraged me to never give up and reassured me that ‘we were in this together.’

“When I first came out of work, I wanted to stay in the industry I was in, but because of my reference, it became very apparent that I wouldn’t be able to. I needed to re-skill and Lucinda helped me to think of things in a different way to see where my skillset would fit.

“She supported me to do CV, skills and interview workshops and I completed a Microsoft course, which my new boss is really impressed about!

Finally given a chance

“I was used to being invited to interviews, but then not getting much further. But during this particular interview, me and my manager just instantly clicked, and she offered me the job there and then; I was speechless, she thought my video had frozen!

“She wasn’t phased by my negative reference, she thought I’d be great for the job and would be a valued member of the team and that was all that mattered to her. I couldn’t believe it.

“I’m now working for a company that handles calls for leasing companies. I take calls and book work in for them such as servicing, MOT and repairs. I speak to so many people from different walks of life and there’s no monotony. The company is so friendly and I couldn’t have asked for a better reception from them. I didn’t originally picture myself working in a call centre, but now it feels like I’ve been there for life!

It only takes one day

“Everything has changed quite dramatically since being back in employment; I feel like I’m worth something again. I’ve gone from having a black mark on my name to getting a full-time job and that’s all down to Lucinda and JETS.

“My advice to others who are struggling to get back into work would be to just never give up. You will find it one day and it only takes one day for that ‘yes’ to come. If I hadn’t been involved in the JETS programme, I’d still be unemployed today.”

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

Area: Dorset

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