He has a strong work ethic and is not afraid of heavy, physical labour – but a lack of IT knowledge proved to be a real stumbling block for job-hunter David Brown. With a background in machine operating and packing, the 57-year-old from Blackburn struggles with computer-related tasks.
“I was working as a machine operator/packer for a print company but they had a last in, first out policy and I was laid off three times,” explains David. “I started volunteering for a charity after that, I found it hard to get back into paid work because of my age. I was doing deliveries for warehouses of donated items like sofas and beds, it was a lot of heavy lifting but I enjoyed being busy.”
But when the pandemic struck last year and the country went into lockdown, David had to take time out from work altogether. “I was sitting at home with nothing to do and started drinking too much,” he admits. He returned to his role as a volunteer as soon as he was able to, but it was no substitute for paid work. With encouragement from his work coach Steven at Blackburn Jobcentre Plus, David signed up to the WHP JETS programme for tailored support to help him find a job. His employment coach Mark McQuillen worked closely with David, who enlisted his daughter Lisa Brown to help with the computer-related tasks.
“My daughter did all the emailing,” says David. “She was my go-between. Mark told me what I needed to do and then I’d tell Lisa.” Together, they worked on improving David’s CV, adding details of his voluntary work as well as previous paid work. When employment account manager Arlene Todd sent Mark an advert for a job assembling furniture, it was clear David would be the perfect fit.
Mark worked closely all day with David to help him complete his application form and within a short space of time he was offered the job. There was only one catch – he needed new safety boots. Mark managed to organise this through Ingeus and arranged for David to collect his new boots from a local retailer, enabling him to start work the next day.
“I feel more motivated because now I am getting paid,” says David. “If I’m busy, I’m happy. My kids and grandkids are buzzing, they’re so glad I’m back working and getting paid for it. I don’t think I could have done it without JETS. At my age it’s hard to find work, there’s not a lot out there. I’ll stay in this job for as long as they want me!”
Ingeus, working in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), is delivering the Work and Health Programme (WHP) expansion for Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS). It is co-financed by the European Social Fund and provides fast paced continuous support to participants negatively affected by COVID-19 labour market changes. Ingeus supports the delivery of JETS in the North West, Greater London, Greater Manchester, the North East, and Central areas.