Last Christmas, the future was not looking too bright for Russell Sellers. The 63-year-old was unemployed and living in shared accommodation, having moved out of his Bridlington home due to a relationship breakdown. Now, thanks to the WHP JETS employability scheme, Russell has got back on his feet with a new job – and moved into his own place.
Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a separate strand of the Work and Health Programme (WHP), is delivered in the North East by Ingeus UK on behalf of Reed in Partnership. It is commissioned and financed by the Department for Work and Pensions and is deemed as match funded for the European Social Fund.
Russell, who now lives in Scarborough, lost his job as a hotel car park patrol officer last June. Like many workers, he had been furloughed in March, but he was no longer needed after the private firm he was working for lost its contract with the hotel. “I was trying to find something new,” says Russell, “but things got worse and worse the longer the pandemic went on because more and more people were losing their jobs.”
After moving to Scarborough, Russell was referred by Andrea, his work coach at Scarborough Jobcentre Plus to JETS and arranged for him to speak to employment coach Helen Smith. She checked his CV and discovered that he had passed his Security Industry Authority (SIA) course but did not have a certificate. “I’d passed the course a couple of years ago but couldn’t afford to get the licence,” says Russell.
Helen spoke to recruitment adviser Lisa Galloway and asked her to put Russell forward for a job as a COVID-19 security marshal at a Scarborough test site. The security company was impressed with Russell and said it would take him on once he had achieved his SIA certificate. JETS agreed to fund the £190 for this and Russell was able to start his new job.
Russell is full of praise for JETS and the help he was given. “They paid for my SIA licence and they got me the job. You wouldn’t believe how close it is, just 60 yards from my house, it’s perfect. I marshal people coming in, guarding the gate. I get on well with everyone I work with, I’m really enjoying it.”
Russell works four days at a time and then has four days off. This has enabled him to spend time on his hobbies – he’s been busy building a shed at his home.