He had the enthusiasm to succeed but a lack of confidence was a stumbling block for university graduate Ben Calcutt. Not only was there the pandemic to contend with but he was also dealing with a diagnosis of Crohn’s disease. Now, thanks to the JETS programme, Ben is on course to his dream career – and has even helped his partner along the way.
 
Ben graduated from university last year with a degree in biomedical science. With the country in the grip of Covid-19, he struggled to find a job and so his work coach Stephanie at Preston Jobcentre Plus referred him to JETS. Employment advisor Jill Bradley sent him on confidence-building workshops with group facilitator Jooles Morrison, covering interview techniques, body language, CV writing and returning to work.
 
Ben, aged 22, says: “The workshops were all held online, and I was nervous about that because I’m very self-conscious, but Jooles was amazing. She made sure we all got involved and that increased my confidence because I was being pushed out of my comfort zone.”
 
After completing the workshops, Ben found a dream role with the NHS as a biomedical support worker. Jill worked closely with Ben to make sure his CV reflected the job description and Jooles gave Ben a mock interview to ensure he was well prepared. Ben was successful and started his new job in May, processing tissue samples through a histopathology laboratory in Liverpool. “This is how I want to start my career, it’s exactly what I need to do to become a biomedical scientist and I’m really enjoying it,” enthuses Ben, whose mother also works for the NHS. “It’s nice to be able to say I’m working for the NHS as I’ve had a lot of care from them over the last two years having been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.”
 
Thanks to the tips he picked up from JETS, Ben has also helped his partner Beth to kickstart her career. “I told Beth all the things I’d learned through the workshops and she’s now got a similar job in Liverpool but at a different hospital,” he says. “So, Jill and Jooles didn’t just help me get a job, they helped Beth too! I would 100 per cent recommend JETS and the workshops because they’ve made me a stronger and more confident person.”
 
Ben was referred to Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a separate strand of the Work and Health Programme (WHP), delivered in Preston 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. Ingeus supports the delivery of JETS in the North West, Greater London, Greater Manchester, the North East, and Central areas. https://ingeus.com/jetsnw