Jo's Story

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Jo Green, 24, is an Estates Officer at Gloucestershire College.

Jo is a delightful lady who is chatty, incredibly enthusiastic and eager to please. She
had always wanted to work in maintenance or painting and decorating but had found it extremely hard to secure this type of employment. Jo has a hearing impairment.

Pluss delivers Work Choice, the Department for Work and Pensions specialist disability employment programme. Work Choice receives funding from the European Social Fund for customers referred to the programme prior to 25th April 2017.

Jo’s words

"I do all sorts. I open and lock the college, help people around the building, investigate things that need fixing, stock check and set up rooms. I use my radio kit to let them know if there are any problems. What I really like is no two days are the same. It’s different every day. 

"They are a fantastic team here. They all have different characters and are very friendly people. They are really welcoming and I felt accepted as soon as I walked in the door. They are definitely supportive.

"I wouldn’t claim my hearing impairment as a disability or something to hold me back. It’s just a hearing issue, I can hear and talk and that’s the main thing. One thing I have found is that certain people talk to you like you’re stupid. Still I just let them get on with it.

"I had been looking for jobs for a good year. I filled in quite a few application forms but didn’t get many interviews. It was not the best – doesn’t make you feel good, but you brush yourself down and move onto the next thing. There is no point dwelling on bad things that you don’t get. Everything happens for a reason – like this job! 

"The support from Pluss was fantastic. They were there to give me a gentle push and remind me not to give up; that I would get something in the end. Karen (at Pluss) sat down with me, showed me what to do and did quite a bit of job searching.

"Pluss supported me to do a six month traineeship at Gloucester Industrial Services as a Workshop Operative at first. I was a bit hesitant and was going through bad anxiety which could have held me back, but Pluss supported me. Doing this gave me new skills, experience of working as part of a team and also gave me money.

"Then I saw this job online and applied for it. I had the interview. I was so excited and really happy to be offered the job. You know what I mean? Really, really happy. I put a status on Facebook ‘Hard work does pay off’!

"I really enjoy coming to work every day. I love my job and that’s a first. I feel great. Working here has made me grow up a lot more. I have also joined the gym across the road to get myself into physical shape and I have stopped drinking at weekends. I have started taking driving lessons and have been able to buy myself new clothes. This is all due to being back in work. I have taken a more grown up approach to life.

"Now I feel like I am a duck to water – it’s my second nature. This is what I have always wanted to do as my Uncle and Grandparents were both in the business. I did a painting and decorating course at Gloucester College Construction School and a maintenance course at BCTV for six months.

"I would say to anyone else to just keep in pursuit of what you want and it will happen. I mean look at me. I have found my bit of happiness. I can’t wait to get up in the morning and go to work. I love doing what I am doing and I only speak the truth. Just keep pushing forward and it will happen in the end."

Kim Freeman, Estates Co-ordinator, Gloucestershire College

"Jo came to interview in the same way as other applicants. She answered questions extremely well, although she did get a little flustered, she comes across very well and we decided to appoint. 

"When we offered Jo the job she sent us a message saying ‘Please tell Kim, thank you so much for taking a chance on me – I wont let her down’.

"Jo is also our first female Estates Officer – the other Officers were really pleased that we had appointed a female as it brings a different dynamic to the team. If there are arguments amongst students a female is sometimes better able to calm down a situation. We will also be training her as a first aider.

"Jo is extremely willing and is picking up the different duties very quickly. She is also willing to try something new and is happy to try something by herself and call only if she needs help. She gets on very well with staff and students, which is very important in this role.

"Jo started at a time of change in the college. We now have two new Estate Officers, so as well as them getting used to the college we have been building a new team. All of the Estates Officers have all been really supportive of each other, it is a very good mix.

"We did have a slight concern over the lifting duties within the role, but Jo is going to the gym to build her strength and it hadn’t been a problem as we just change things around in the team to accommodate everyone’s abilities.

"Jo is very eager, has lots of energy and bounces around. She has brought an awful lot of enthusiasm and willingness with her to the team. She is confident about what she is doing and that is a big thing. She listens well and if she’s not sure she asks. 

"She fills the role very well. She fits in with our sense of humour and because she’s always so happy and upbeat, it helps everybody; it makes the job easier for everyone."