Airline cabin manager Stephen May from Southwark came down to earth with a bump when he was made redundant in August 2020. After 22 years in the airline industry, Stephen felt lost when the pandemic took away his career and active social life.
“The scale of the pandemic took us all by surprise and becoming unemployed was a shock,” says 44 year-old Stephen. “I totally lost my confidence and drive and became very nervous about the future – I hadn’t done a job interview for decades. I found myself in a personally bad place with little aspiration or motivation.”
After a referral from London Bridge Jobcentre Plus, Stephen joined the Central London Works, Work and Health Programme Job Entry Targeted Support (CLW WHP JETS) scheme. Delivered by Ingeus, the programme provides rapid response employability support to Central London residents affected by the pandemic. Stephen was contacted by Ingeus employment coach Jose Cofone and things quickly took off.
“In our very first call, Jose reassured me and encouraged me,” adds Stephen. “I had no idea how to create a CV but Jose gave me a template to adapt and then helped me to refine it. I attended virtual workshops on CV development and remote interview techniques while Jose updated me on local job vacancies. A job offer soon followed – it all happened so fast.”
Stephen is now in a frontline role supporting the pandemic effort, and couldn’t be happier.
He concludes: “It’s mind-blowing getting back to work. Living alone, I really missed the social interaction with my work colleagues but now I’m part of a team again. My confidence is back, my normal assertive, talkative, constructive-self is back.
“I thought the airline industry was all I knew but I’m learning different skills now and have a whole new outlook. The pandemic put a stop to my career and I’m proud to be part of the fight back.
“I'm not sure where I would be right now if I hadn’t been referred to JETS. It’s been invaluable in supporting me emotionally and financially. I have options now that I simply wouldn’t have had without Jose’s belief in me.”
CLW WHP JETS is commissioned by Central London Forward and is delivered by Ingeus. A combination of one-to-one support and online resources give unemployed people practical help to get back to work quickly.