Jay joined the Work and Health Programme in April 2018. He had been unemployed for several years after being diagnosed with severe mental health issues and agoraphobia. Jay wasn't able to leave the house for approximately two years.
Jay came to his first appointment feeling very afraid and unsure about what to expect. After meeting with his Change Coach several times, she asked if he would like to participate in training. Jay arrived at the training session very fearful and he sat near the door so he could leave the room quickly due to panic.
Jay managed to overcome his difficulties and came back for more workshops. Gradually he moved from the door to the middle of the room. When I discussed qualifications with the group, Jay asked if he could attend - not for the qualification but for his own mental health, confidence and self-esteem. I signed Jay up for a BTEC Work Skills course.
We started the course with nine participants and each time I turned my back to do something or help support a participant, another would ask Jay if he could help them. I cheekily asked Jay if he wanted to be my Teaching Assistant. He said he might like that so I gave him a few days to think about it and he emailed me a 'yes'!
Jay met with me prior to the course and I talked him through each stage before we went ahead. Jay was brilliant and over the weeks I saw him flourish into the confident, enthusiastic man we see today. Jay has supported several courses and now runs a job club as a volunteer, as he wanted to try other activities to gain new skills and confidence.
Jay is going to be an adjudicator for online courses that we now offer. He still runs the job club and has supported another customer to deliver a creative writing course. In fact, we have had to offer a second part as it was so successful. Jay is being encouraged to offer his own workshops to gain further experience and we have now sourced other qualifications for Jay to undertake, including a 'Preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector' course.
Jay has gained so much confidence that he went out with his friends at Christmas for the first time in five years and is very much a part of the Pluss team.
He is professional, knowledgeable and has gained many new skills since joining us. Jay is changing career path and going from strength to strength. I am very honoured to have mentored Jay and watch this frightened, unwell man change his life for the better. We are all very proud of him!
The Work and Health Programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund.