At this stage, Brian had been unemployed for 14 months and was, in his own words, on the mend from surgery on his back.
Brian met with Camilla Rayner, an employment and skills advisor for F1 Training. Between them a return to work plan was drawn up, which included various learning outcomes and courses, in addition to on-going employment mentoring from Camilla.
This programme of employment mentoring and skills development is called Vocational Routeways and can include various learning, work experience and work trials.
Actions included improving Brian’s ICT skills, completing an employability course and boosting Brian’s motivation to gain paid employment.
Skills and current qualifications were really needed with Brian, as academically he didn’t have any level 2 equivalent qualifications.
The main area that his employment advisor wanted to identify was Brian’s motivations and how could these be harnessed to help Brian back to work.
When Brian started his learndirect learning on his employability course, he encountered Ann Cook, trainer, who commented that Brian seemed worried about the programme at first and seemed to be distant, doing what was asked of him and little else. Ann and Brian identified that he would also benefit from updating his maths skills.
Ann and Camilla spoke to Gordon West, project manager, about Brian at one of many regular case reviews. Gordon arranged for Brian to do a one day voluntary placement in his village, as Gordon happened to be volunteering for a recycle charity the next week.
The purpose of this was to get to know Brian outside of the office environment and to introduce Brian to some local employers at the recycle event.
At the event, Brian was introduced to three local employers, the local Council press officer (who included a picture and an editorial of Brian’s work on the day and aspirations for employment) and Brian worked closely with Gordon. The two got to know each other better and Gordon found out that Brian was a keen fisherman.
Keen is an understatement, fanatical is closer.
When Gordon and Brian were speaking to the local employers, they explored local opportunities in this rural town in Norfolk and what it was like to work for the employers who were at the event, from an employee perspective and from the employers perspective. What came out of the event was a good understanding of what motivates Brian, the types of work he would enjoy and thrive in and the types of work that physically and motivationally he would not want to consider.
This information was then passed back to his employment advisor and his learndirect tutor, who both helped Brian to focus his job search.
Camilla, with the new fish related motivation information, started to target local employers in the fishing industry. Four weeks later, a local fishing tackle sales company came back to Camilla with a possible vacancy. Camilla negotiated a two week work trial for Brian. After three days the employer called Camilla to inform her that Brian had been offered the job.
Even more important to Brian than the job, was that he was now working in a warehouse environment, with products he understood and was passionate about, and… after six months of service he would receive a 40% staff discount.
I think this last point will help Brian look forward to his sustainment of his employment.
Through Brian’s time with F1 Training on a mixture of learndirect and work programme activity, he improved his knowledge and skills related to job search, ICT and the expectations of employers of new staff. Particularly, Brian gained access to passionate staff who were there as a team to help Brian overcome emotional and physical barriers to employment. The learndirect courses showed employers Brian’s willingness to learn new skills and gave him current, up to date qualifications.
The flexible nature of learndirect learning also help Brian access learning in a manner that suited him. At times Brian missed appointments for learning due to his health, but he was able to continue where he left off, not missing out. Standard cohort learning models may have disadvantaged Brian. The mixture of F1 Training’s Vocational Routeways model with the integration of learndirect’s flexibility helped Brian to excel.
Brian receives regular in work support from F1 Training as part of the work programme. He is very happy in his new job and has stated that his new employer has offered him lots of training to help him acclimatise and excel in his new job.
Brian’s future plans are to continue in his job, be happy, do lots of fishing and at his six month anniversary buy lots of fishing gear with his staff discount.