"I now know I've something to offer" - Kevin's story

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Kevin was referred to the Work and Health Programme in April 2019.

Kevin had not been in paid employment for over 30 years. He had spent a significant amount of time in receipt of health-related benefits but had since been found fit for work.  

Kevin has a number of long-term conditions that require levels of support within the workplace, however, Kevin’s biggest barrier was his motivation to secure paid employment. Kevin had assumed that he would remain on health-related benefits until retirement so it came as a bit of a shock to be found fit for work after 28 years.

One of the first steps was to undertake an in-work benefit calculation. This clearly showed that Kevin would be better off on 16, 24 and 30 hours in work. It took a number of sessions to convince Kevin that this was the case and answering his questions of the accuracy of the data that the calculation was providing. During these meetings, Kevin’s Change Coach also discussed Kevin’s motivation to find work and worked hard to challenge Kevin’s issues with a commitment to finding work and his engagement on the programme.

Kevin was offered a three-week course with Aspire that would have provided intensive support to secure skills required to compete in today's labour market, although Kevin wasn't keen to participate.

There were a number of customers on the programme at the time where their Change Coaches felt they had real potential to sustain employment, but they had created significant barriers that were preventing them from moving forward. 

The Barnstaple team devised a bespoke group training programme that focused on “barrier-busting” and giving them really honest feedback on the restrictions and barriers that they were putting in place. Kevin was part of this group.

The follow up to this training session was a mock interview with the Regional Manager. The aim of these interviews was again to provide honest and constructive feedback to support and challenge these individuals to move forward. Kevin attended the mock interview. We provided feedback on his personal presentation for the interview and offered support to ensure that when he met a 'real' employer, he would be appropriately suited and booted.

After the mock interview, we discussed the content of Kevin's answers and his focus on his health and the barriers he was putting in place. Kevin committed to undertaking some work experience in the factory next door to improve his stamina, learn new skills and put something recent on his CV as well as a work reference. This action then became embedded in his action plan.  

Fast forward six weeks, Kevin is regularly attending job clubs and working closely with his Change Coach and our progression Coach to identify and apply for suitable vacancies. Our Progression Coach had made a speculative approach to Home Hardware as we were actively working with them in supporting individuals who they had employed. They offered Kevin an interview and he was coached to answer the questions positively without focusing on his health. Kevin was also supported to purchase appropriate interview clothes.  

The Progression Coach was able to talk about Kevin’s significant gap in employment history so Kevin did not need to broach or discuss this issue. As a result of the interview, Kevin has been offered a one-day work trial as a forklift driver and Seetec Pluss will support Kevin to retake his forklift licence.

The work trial had to be postponed as Kevin had already arranged a trip to visit family in Birmingham. His work trial is now arranged after his return and if successful he will be paid for the day and his employment will start from that point.

Kevin’s motivation and commitment to finding work has changed beyond recognition and he has gone on quite an emotional journey where he has had to significantly challenge himself and his mindset.

Kevin is now in a much stronger position than he was when he was referred six months ago and the potential for Kevin to secure and sustain employment is now strong.

Kevin is grateful for the “honest yet constructive” support he's received. Kevin says, “I am really hopeful about finding a job, it has been a long time, but I now know I still have something to offer employers”. 

The Work and Health Programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund. Photos have been changed.