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A thousand reasons to celebrate

More than a thousand people have now been supported into work as part of our programme in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire set up as a rapid response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Our Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) programme is one of the quickest employability programmes ever to be mobilised – and one of the most successful.

JETS is a voluntary programme helping unemployed people who have been out of work for at least three months.

We deliver the programme on behalf of prime Work and Health Programme provider Seetec Pluss in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

Our customers get up to six months of intensive support to get back into work, from a team of 29 working across the two counties.

Despite the labour market shrinking massively as the economy plunged in the wake of the pandemic, the team has supported 1,000 people back into sustainable employment so far –almost double its target.

What’s more, this was all achieved by 80% of the team being new to the employability sector.

Interventions focus around identifying customers’ transferable skills, supporting them into alternative careers – with new salaries of those being helped back into work ranging from minimum wage to £60,000 per year.

While predominantly focused on work, these interventions also helped to support them in their wider lives. For example, help to overcome mental health, debt or housing issues.

Additional health and wellbeing sessions have also been held to support people overcome their anxieties about returning to work during this time. Specific workshops were held to support parents back to work, focusing on the availability of remote and part-time jobs.

Magdi Hodova, Delivery Manager, said: “When the programme launched, the local labour market had shrunk dramatically – with the once-thriving hospitality, beauty, retail and tourism sectors almost shutting down overnight, throwing thousands of people out of work and onto benefits. This meant more competition for the jobs that were still available, leaving many people feeling as though they were being left behind.

“With many people being out of work for the first time in a long time, trends among the first customers to receive support were lack of relevant experience, low confidence, anxiety about Covid-19, financial issues, a lack of understanding of transferable skills and out-of-date CVs. Customers also tended to have a lack of IT skills or equipment.

“During the course of the programme, the profile of customers and their barriers started to change, with many people with convictions, single parents, professionals, school leavers and graduates starting to look for support.

“A changing and diverse caseload like this means a one-size-fits-all approach would never work. Our team deliver tailored, one-to-one interventions to customers to enable them to overcome their various barriers and rebuild their lives.”

The team has even provided customers with IT equipment to help with job searching, which has proved pivotal in a climate where internet access has been central to accessing local labour market opportunities.

And working with our partners, we have been able to fund dozens of external training courses to help customers upskill, specifically in areas like IT, health and safety, customer service, administration and safeguarding.

And the support doesn’t stop when someone goes into work. Understanding that starting a new job, particularly during these times, is daunting, our bespoke in-work support service enables the customer and their new employer to receive support as they make the transition. Examples have included help to pay travel costs, new work clothing, funded qualifications, workplace assessments, work tools and DBS checks.

Customers overwhelmingly say they feel supported, with the latest feedback showing a score of 9.2 out of 10 for our delivery.

Keiron Hart, Delivery Partnership Manager at prime contractor Seetec Pluss, said: “It has been a delight to read some of the good news stories that have come from Fedcap participants. Not only have these participants related how the team there supported them into desired roles, they also speak about other types of support they received from them, like encouragement and motivation and support with personal matters, although a common theme seen in feedback received is the amount of effort the team puts into their journeys, and how knowledgeable the advisers are there.”

If you would like support from our team in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire, talk to your Jobcentre Plus Work Coach.

What our customers say:

“After losing my job during the pandemic and falling into depression I applied for Universal Credit and was accepted. In May whilst speaking with my coach I explained my desire to start my own business and was referred to and joined The Jets Program where I was introduced to Claire Atkinson for Self-Employment Support.

“That was the best introduction I’ve ever had.

“Claire and I spoke at length about my ideas, aspirations and goals, she listened intently, understood my circumstances and wow, just wow. The excellent support, guidance and advice I have received has changed my life and is physically and mentally helping me grow stronger as a person and believe in myself once again, also Claire’s knowledge, experience and industry connections has enabled me to make my ideas become reality.”

Gerard, now self-employed

“I would like to say a huge thank you for the help and support you have provided over the past weeks. I had been unemployed since August 2019 and due to my husband being ill decided to spend what time we had left with him rather than search for work. His passing last year left me feeling very low and combined with lockdown, felt that I was never going to work again. “It’s a frightening feeling and really “knocked” my confidence. It was all overwhelming. I do feel fortunate to have been referred to you as from the start you have listened and put me at ease. My CV was checked, and one-to-one feedback given. It all helped to build my confidence and to make me realise that my knowledge was needed and that I was not too old. “This has resulted in me securing a position and one that I was delighted to have offered. Even though I have now secured a position you are still making sure that I am prepared for my first day and that I have all that I need. All I can say is a sincere thank you. Please know that I have appreciated your help. Linda, now in work “Thank you for everything you have done for me the short time I have known you. The past few months have been difficult and being out of work for five years I was lacking in confidence. From the very first conversations we had you have been so helpful, motivated and positive. You always answered the questions or concerns I had. The days I was doubting myself your calls uplifted me and I am happy to say you had a big part in me getting the job at HS2. I have no doubt you are a true asset in your company, and I wish you all the best for the future.” Anna, now in work


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