Tom Balcombe from Cumbria was forced to reconsider his career in security when he found himself out of work in October 2020. After almost 10 years in the industry, he felt lost when the pandemic took away his normal route back into work.
“I live on the edge of the Lake District, so I would normally have found a security role in the hospitality industry really easily,” explains 29-year-old Tom. “But I was definitely struggling because of the pandemic. It was such a relief when I received the support from JETS.”
Tom, who has rubbed shoulders with an impressive list of celebrities and high-profile sports people during his time as a protection operative, 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.
After registering at Penrith Jobcentre Plus, his work coach Heather Hughes put him in touch with Ingeus employment coach Daniel Wileman. With Daniel’s support through the WHP JETS programme, University of Cumbria graduate Tom was soon on track to finding a new job.
He says, “I really wanted to get back to work – I was crawling up the walls. I’d applied for about 260 jobs before I received Daniel’s help. Whenever I’d lost a job before, I would literally walk into a pub, ask them for security work and start soon afterwards, so this was a new situation for me to be in.”
Daniel helped Tom to realise he needed to re-focus his search on roles in security. From there, they found a suitable Security Industry Authority (SIA) course to enable Tom to renew his license. Completing the four-day course, which was funded by JETS, meant doors were able to re-open in Tom’s job search and he’s now working as a security guard in a local supermarket.
“I can’t praise Daniel highly enough, I love my new job!” exclaims Tom. “It’s literally a minute away from where I live – I see so many people I know and get to chat to them as part of my job. There isn’t much trouble where we are either, so it’s not particularly high risk. It’s the customer service side of things which I’m really enjoying.
“Getting the job has also meant I can save up to renew my close protection license and look forward to becoming a protection operative again – something I wouldn’t have been able to do if I hadn’t received JETS’ help in finding this job.”