Sixty-three-year-old Alan struggled to stay positive while job hunting. He was convinced his applications weren’t being considered because the industry he was in only recruited younger people. But, with support and encouragement from JETS, he soon realised age wasn’t a barrier.
Alan, who has 25 years’ experience in graphic design, found himself out of work in early 2020. Despite registering with his local Jobcentre Plus in Blackpool, finding a new role as the pandemic took hold proved challenging. Asking his employment coach for help, he was referred to Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a separate strand of the Work and Health Programme (WHP), delivered in North West England by Ingeus. It is commissioned and financed by the Department for Work and Pensions and deemed to be a European Social Fund match funded programme.
“My morale was very low,” says Alan. “I had the impression that graphic design employers only wanted to recruit graduates and I felt my age was the reason why I wasn’t hearing back about applications.
“When I joined JETS my work coach Helen Derry was amazing at helping me to realise that I had a negative point of view. She was a very positive influence.”
As well as providing support with Alan’s mental wellbeing, Helen also gave him practical help with his job search.
He explains: “She was constantly looking for opportunities for me and would even submit applications on my behalf. It was like having a second person doing my job search for me. I think she could tell I was genuinely looking for a job and wanted to do her best for me.”
Pointed towards a particular recruitment site by Helen, Alan spotted an advert looking for an ‘experienced’ graphic designer. Encouraged by the wording, he decided to apply and was successful.
“The employer turned out to be someone I’d worked for before,” says Alan. “So, although I still had to pass the interview, he’d known me for about 15 years and knew what my skills were.
“Helen was over the moon for me when I got the job. She was incredibly supportive throughout the process – as well as reworking my CV, she organised a tablet for me to use during my job search and arranged funding for clothing and travel.”
“The job has alleviated a lot of financial worries, plus I realise now that my age wasn’t a barrier – there’s a wide range of ages in the office.”