Inspiring Families

Daniel refuses to let long-term unemployment and mental health concerns get in the way

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The story

Daniel was referred to the Inspiring Families programme by his Jobcentre Plus adviser. He had learning difficulties, was unable to read or write, and had suffered from depression, anxiety and low self-esteem for many years.

The Inspiring Families programme is an initiative designed to help individuals facing multiple and complex family issues to get back into work. It is funded by the European Union through the European Social Fund.

Groundwork is part of Serco’s network of expert organisations chosen to deliver the Inspiring Families programme on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Daniel’s Jobcentre Plus adviser explained to the Inspiring Families Employment Adviser that Daniel would come in with his hood on and would not take it off during the meeting.

When Daniel attended, his IFEA helped him to complete his registration paper, and made a plan of action for how to support Daniel to gain employment, with no pressure on him to take his hood off during his appointment. Daniel had not worked for a long time, just short agency contracts as a refuse collector.

An opportunity came up for a supported job as a Cleaning Operative on the Queen Elizabeth Park. Daniel was given information about the job and recruitment process, starting with a site visit, an hour’s work taster, followed by a talk with the manager. If this went well he would be given the opportunity to do a work trial of two full days.

Daniel’s adviser encouraged him to attend the site visit, assuring him that she would be there during the visit and if he was uncomfortable he could leave at any time. She explained in advance to the employer about Daniel’s anxiety, and that he would be wearing his hood. Daniel agreed, stayed the whole day completing the work taster and interview and was invited to the second work taster.

Daniel did a good job and the employer fed back that he would like to offer him the job and that they could even be accommodating with their uniform, so that Daniel could wear a baseball cap, working on a venue in the quieter part of the park.

When Daniel was told, he was really pleased and accepted. His adviser explained to him the employer’s concerns about uniform requirements and his wearing a hood, and asked if he would feel comfortable, when his confidence grew, about aiming to take it off; Daniel said he would try.

When Daniel attended his next appointment to complete his job start paperwork, he came into the office without wearing his hood and said: “I want this job and don’t want my anxiety to be a barrier anymore”.

The result

Daniel and his Employment Adviser agreed an in work support plan to give him the best chance to continue his progress. He started work in the autumn of 2017.

Serco delivers the Inspiring Families programme in Haringey, Hackney, Enfield, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Greenwich, Barking & Dagenham and Havering.

Individuals living in North and East London can contact us for more details and to find out if they are eligible for support through the Inspiring Families programme.