Stephen, aged 51 lives in the Wakefield area. In May last year (2020) he joined Pluss’ Hopeful Families programme in Wakefield after being made redundant during autumn 2019. He was finding it difficult to find suitable work, which he felt was particularly tough during COVID due to the widespread economic uncertainty.

Being unemployed had an impact on Stephen’s mental health – he felt low and over time, lost confidence. Stephen was not used to being unemployed, having worked continuously before being made redundant. He had been with his last employer for only six months, when the company sadly closed. Before that, Stephen had worked in his last position for many years.

One of the big barriers for Stephen while unemployed was being unable to go to his local library, to look for jobs online and complete applications.

BBO Groundwork as part of the Hopeful Families programme, was able to provide Stephen with a laptop to carry out job hunting online and complete application forms to a good standard and complete any online assessments if required. It made a big difference and was the first step in supporting Stephen on his journey to gaining employment.

Hopeful Families, a programme funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund, offers opportunities to build hope, confidence and skills for people who are not in work.

Stephen was given pre-employment support from one of Pluss’ Hopeful Families trainers, Felecha. She worked with Stephen getting his CV up-to-date and gave help writing covering letters. Felecha worked with Stephen to develop his interview techniques, along with tips on what employers are looking for. This all helped to re-build Stephen’s confidence.

As his confidence grew, Stephen took part in mock interviews and he learnt how to answer competency-based interview questions. Many employers use this style of interview, which require responses to have a specific structure. Through this process, Stephen’s confidence grew considerably. He was determined and motivated to find and secure employment.

Stephen’s hard work eventually paid off and he was successful in being offered a job. In January Stephen was thrilled to start his new job as a customs advisor for large global company. He said: “To be back in work and earning an income has made a huge difference to me and my family. I feel I am back to being me and this is all thanks to the support and help from Hopeful Families, you are brilliant.”

Stephen is looking forward to the future and is enjoying being back in work. He concluded: “The support and encouragement from Hopeful Families made all the difference. From day one I felt listened to and they did what they said they would, which was refreshing. I would recommend the Hopeful Families to anyone who is struggling to get back into work for whatever reason.”

If you are unemployed and feel you would benefit from support with skills to get you back into employment or training, get in touch with us on: [email protected] / 0800 334 5525.