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Customers explain how our Employment Team helped them achieve their dreams

As the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic becomes clearer, more people are finding themselves in difficult situations.

Whether they’ve been made redundant, are finding it hard to find work due to fewer employers recruiting, or it’s not knowing where to start their job search, many people are looking for support.

Our Employment and Skills Team is on hand to offer this help and support to our customers. They can help you with courses and training programmes to improve your skills set, or work on your CV and improve your interview techniques ready for your next opportunity.

Here, we speak to two customers who’ve recently been helped by the team to achieve their goals.

Julie Walton, Loughborough

How long have you been a Longhurst Group customer?

I’ve been a customer for about a year.

Before reaching out to the team, what was your personal situation?

I was looking for work but was hitting a bit of a block. I was doing a lot of courses in the industry I was looking to get into, which was digital media and marketing, but I was finding it hard to get a break as I didn’t have certificates. I was sat on my sofa at the time in a head in my hands situation, thinking ‘where do I go from here’ because I’d tried every other avenue. I wanted to get into an industry that’s very difficult and extremely competitive, and I’d tried all the avenues I could. I’d built a website, built up a strong portfolio of work, organised photo-shoots, written blogs and done some content writing, but I was still experiencing difficulty in getting into the industry. This is why I knew I needed to speak to the team.

What help did you get from the team?

I got in touch with Rob [Friday, Employment and Training Advisor] and re-did my CV and I found success from there on in really. Applications can be quite hard, and Rob’s also helped me with that as well as sorting my CV.

I was quite afraid of being honest as, for the last three years, I haven’t worked because all I was doing was courses, so holding my hands up and being honest was the best part of it really. Once my CV was done, I could make my applications much stronger, showcasing the experience I do have. The calls with Rob can be about anything, such as addressing being too frightened to attend interviews. It can be about whatever is holding you back.

How’s it been for you?

It’s been productive. There’s been a couple of calls a week to help me get to where I am now. What I would say is it isn’t just about employability and doing your CV, it’s around your whole lifestyle and anything that could have a knock-on effect to why you’re not gaining employment. It was invaluable really and Rob is extremely professional.

Why did you want to investigate apprenticeships?

I’d been looking towards an apprenticeship even though they’re often geared towards younger people and I’m 45. I felt that it’d be a route into the industry and the experience you get with mentors and tutors and the experience of actually being situated in a marketing and digital media agency is second to none and worth its weight in gold.

My apprenticeship itself touches on all aspects, including analytics, SEO, internet marketing, copy writing, content writing, social media marketing, research and portfolio development, which is what I’ve been working towards. As soon as I got there, I felt at home and that it was for me, so I’d recommend an apprenticeship. At the end of the day it’s one year of hard work to get into a career that you really want.

Would you recommend other customers contacting the team if they need support?

I’d recommend it. Whatever stumbling block you do have, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. It could be as simple as gaining confidence and if you keep trying, you’ll eventually get what you want. I approached Rob for some help, and I got the help that I needed with no cost involved.

Laura Jones*, Rutland

How long have you been a Longhurst Group customer?

I’ve been a customer since 2006.

How did you become aware of the Employment and Skills Team and the work they can do?

Mainly through articles in this magazine. I’d been reading other people’s stories in terms of getting help in finding employment and I kept thinking ‘I’ll ring up about that’. I’d been getting some help from elsewhere, but I wasn’t successful in gaining employment, so I thought ‘let’s have a go’ and I called Rob.

Why did you want to get in touch? What were you hoping to achieve?

I’d been working with the Employment Services Officer at Rutland County Council, but I felt the more people I got involved, the easier it might make it to get a job. It had been nearly three years since I’d had a job and, due to some health problems, I hadn’t been able to look as often as I should.

I’d done a bit of temp work in November in the kitchens of a care home, but I knew I wanted to get a job in the care sector itself. I found an advert for the role of Care Officer at a care home that looks after people with learning disabilities.

What did our colleagues help you with?

I spoke to Rob before applying for the job, and along with some of his other colleagues, I did some work on computers, such as how to email my CV as an attachment, as I didn’t know how to do that. I’d redone my CV, but I also worked with Rob to go over it and check it was okay.

He also gave me pointers about preparing applications and getting ready for interviews. When I was invited for an interview for the Care Officer job, he suggested I do some research into the home, so I knew a bit about them. He recommended I check the CQC website and look at the last inspection. Rob told me this would show the employer that I’d done my homework and prepared for my interview.

All of the Longhurst Group colleagues I worked with definitely helped improve my confidence and my skills when preparing for interviews. This time, I impressed them enough to get the job!

I think it’s important to emphasise that it’s never too late to approach people for help. It really doesn’t matter what sort of situation you’re in. I’m so grateful for everything everyone has done for me.

*Not our customer’s real name.

Click here to find out more about the Employment and Skills Team.

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