Susan Andrews (53) had a lengthy career in retail, which she unfortunately had to give up after experiencing some mental health issues. Unemployed for five years, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) referred Susan to Community Work Placements (CWP), a programme aimed at claimants whose primary barrier to work is a lack of work experience and who may have spent a great deal of time away from a structured work environment.
The programme delivered by LearnDirect, on behalf of DWP, has been in operation for less than a year and is supported by a wide range of sectors and support agencies/delivery partners with specialist knowledge, including CEIS Ayrshire.
When Susan was first put in touch with CEIS Ayrshire, she was nervous about being referred to CWP and reluctant about being an unpaid worker, however knowing this would provide her with valuable work experience; enable her to develop skills and support a move into employment, she was happy to participate.
From the outset, Susan expressed interest in working outdoors where she could gain new skills and work experience but also make a difference to the local community. Following Susan’s induction, our job broker, Diane arranged for Susan to meet with the Supervisor at North Ayrshire Council’s StreetScene Service who is responsible for the maintenance of public areas within North Ayrshire.
Soon after, Susan commenced her 30 hours placement for 26 weeks as a StreetScene Operative where she worked in all weathers litter picking, fly tipping and responding to calls relating to environmental services.
Susan says that from the first day she felt her confidence improve, which in turn helped her to overcome her ongoing mental health issues. Susan’s attendance was exemplary and she soon became a valued member of the team gaining a glowing reference from her Supervisor.
So much so, that shortly after Susan completed her work placement Susan’s Supervisor contacted Diane to make her aware that seasonal positions were being advertised with North Ayrshire Council and that Susan would be a perfect candidate for such a position. Diane contacted Susan with this great news and supported her with the lengthy application process. Again, an area Susan was lacking skills and experience.
Susan successfully reached the interview stage and has since been offered the job with North Ayrshire Council for a seasonal position.
‘Without CWP I would never even have had the confidence to apply for a North Ayrshire Council position and now I am preparing for an interview’.
If you or someone you know is struggling to find a job or lacks the relevant skills or qualifications for a job, then please contact us today. CEIS Ayrshire can signpost you to the right support services.
For further information on StreetScene, visit http://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/council/strategies-plans-and-policies/streetscene-service-standards.aspx