This case study was taken from F1 Training’s Ipswich centre, which is based at Hubbard House, Civic Drive, Ipswich IP1 2QA. The centre offers a range of courses and opportunities to both the employed and unemployed to aid them into employment and to give them the tools and encouragement to improve their chances of engaging with employers and to secure interviews, full time employment or progression at work.
There are five members of staff on site, the centre manager, a careers and skills advisor, two tutors and two administrators. Although these jobs seem specific everyone is multi skilled and tasked (including giving informal and formal Information Advice and Guidance). The staff are committed to support each other as well as supporting the needs of the individual clients when we are called to do so.
The case study below was written by Brian Green who has worked for F1 Training as a careers and skills advisor for 3 years.
Rob first came to F1 as a referral from the Job Centre, this was the first time we at F1 had met him. He attended an Induction day as part of a larger group who all had different requirements and needs.
Some of these were:-
* Some found it difficult to communicate with others during group work at induction.
* Some customers had low self-belief.
* Some didn’t think they were not capable of returning to work.
* Some thought they were too old to be considered for long time permanent work.
* Most clients were mandated to attend the sessions and therefore felt they would not be here unless the job centre made them attend.
At the time Rob appeared to be all of these, as he had recently hit a milestone birthday and had been unemployed for 4 years after being made redundant. As with all new clients he was given an induction not only to F1 Training but also to the National Career Service (NCS) and a host of other local services that could help him achieve his employment related goal. He was given all the information how NCS could help and advise him and he, reluctantly at first, agreed to have a meeting with his NCS advisor, Brian.
This is where, on a one to one basis, I asked what needs he thought he might have to get back into employment. He explained how he felt personally, along with the levels of help he had previously received from other organisations. He was a bit unsure at first at what to say, but I explained everything he told me would be in confidence, and this helped him to open up and tell me what he felt he needed to be able to return to work. This formulated an early trust between us and we advanced from there. Rob’s next steps were to improve his understanding of the local labour market, which we decided that Rob should attend some accredited employability training delivered by F1 Training in our centre.
The main outcome of the two day employability course is to provide a good sound basis of information, instruction and the sharing of ideas between teaching and advice staff and a cohort of unemployed clients. This is designed to give the customers the ability to understand what is expected by local employers, how to find vacancies, prepare for interviews and to improve their self-confidence, understanding their own strengths and weaknesses. All great preparation for interviews.
Time is also spent offering Information, Advice and Guidance on a range of possible issues that the clients raise during their time with us. In addition we offer a range of ‘stepping stone’ personal skills to get the client to the job ready stage. This includes discussing how to disclose convictions (if they have any), CV advice, how to fill in application forms (online and on paper), the creation of cover and speculative letters, telephone techniques, why and how to research companies, interview techniques, career aspirations, barriers to work, health & safety awareness, equality & diversity awareness and we try to have fun while doing it.
Rob seemed to be reluctant to attend the employability course, because “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. It was a slow start but over the 2 days he became more actively involved and joined in the group discussions, adding valuable contributions to group discussions and realising that he has a great deal to offer.
We (the F1 team – not race cars, the help key on your keyboard) helped at every stage of the computer and paper based work. We encouraged a question and answer session which engage the customers, including Rob to participate in group discussions. We explained in detail different methods of motivating themselves to boost their confidence. We (our staff and the customers as one group) managed to encourage and persuade Rob, and others like him, to continue with us for further training and mentoring support to help them gain their ultimate goal, sustainable employment.
Once Rob had completed this first course successfully, it was plain to see that he had gained some of his self-respect back as well as heaps of confidence. With the encouragement he received, not only from me but also by the whole Ipswich team (which includes our customers), his rediscovered thirst for knowledge and employment was back. Now the newly motivated Rob was an easier to encourage him to allow us to help him further. At this stage Rob also understood how he needed to help himself.
He went on to complete further academic training (after his further NCS sessions) and these included his English Level 2, computing at entry level 3 and then progressed to computing level 1 in word processing.
In the reasonably short time we have known Rob he had transformed himself from an introverted person to a confident candidate for employment.
He did lots of job searching for roles that interested him, but he noticed common barriers in his way in the form of requested qualifications by the employers. Instead of complaining like Rob used to (“Cant teach an old dog new tricks”), he had the foresight to ask for help. This is a major step that many unemployed customers miss.
As Rob continued his progression towards employment, with the help and encouragement that was all around him, he continued to apply for jobs. Eventually he was successful at securing a few interviews, because of his newfound self-esteem, confidence and newly acquired qualifications.
It was of much delight, but no surprise, that he was offered, and accepted, a post of supervisor in his preferred environment. At the time of writing this case study, Rob has been enjoying his new job for a few months now. He continues to come into see us just to say hello and tells us how he is doing.
It is clients like Rob that make my job challenging and rewarding and is why I look forward to coming to work each day.