A warning telephone call from her worried family about the UK’s looming pandemic saw globe-trotter Katy Gladwinfield rush to catch the last flight leaving Australia before its lockdown measures were imposed.
 
Twenty-four-year-old Katy answered her parents’ plea to travel the 9,500 miles to return home to South Lakeland in Cumbria just as the British government announced the first national lockdown in March 2020.
 
“I had decided to travel for a few years after completing my degree,” explained Katy. “I had been busy with bar work in Australia, and I had arranged accommodation in Sydney when I got the call from home. My family was worried I’d be stuck in lockdown on the other side of the world.
 
“I returned to stay with my parents and sister, but I had no job and I wasn’t sure that I’d easily find employment as so many places had closed.”
 
Katy was referred by her work coach Paula Hill at Kendal Jobcentre Plus to Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a separate strand of the Work and Health Programme (WHP), delivered in Cumbria 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.
 
She added: “Ingeus has been so helpful because it has great connections with employers. They really understand the local employment market and what opportunities are available in the area. I wanted to find a job that didn’t involve a lot of commuting.”
 
Ingeus helped Katy apply for work with a national outsourcing and healthcare services company. She revised her CV to show her range of experiences and availability.
 
“I now have two part-time cleaning roles that are located in a COVID-19 testing centre and with a national supermarket chain,” said Katy. “It’s good to be doing something useful in what have been quite difficult times. The people I work with are nice and it’s great to be earning a salary again.
 
“I hope in the future to have the time to start a graduate training scheme to gain an MA in social work and become a mental health social worker.”
 
Ingeus supports the delivery of JETS in the North West, Greater London, Greater Manchester, the North East, and Central areas. https://ingeus.com/jetsnw