by Humankind Worker
John (not his real name) was referred to the MOTW Programme in August 2017 by his Jobcentre Work Coach
On joining MOTW, John was 56 years old and unemployed for 6 years. He had previously worked as a welder in various shipyards, having served his apprenticeship as a marine plumber. John worked on several long and short term contracts and enjoyed his work. However the physical demands of the job began to have an impact on his health, suffering ongoing back pain and foot pain. Inevitably John had to stop working in his trade due to health restrictions and found himself unemployed.
John found it difficult to decide which type of work he could do, particularly as his skills lay within his trade and that he had worked in his occupation for such a long time.
On meeting John, it was apparent he was lacking in confidence due to his length of unemployment and his frustration at not being able to secure employment. Initial discussions focussed on the type of work he could manage within his health limitations and how best to use his strengths. John revealed that since working as a welder he had also worked as a taxi driver but was finding it difficult to make a living due to lack of business. I focussed on this experience and we conducted an exercise to define other skills that he could use in other jobs. His taxi driving experience meant he had good knowledge of the local area and also customer service experience in dealing with passengers. John had recently started as a volunteer driver for the Missions to Seamen, transporting seamen to and from the docks locally.
The next task in working with John was to try and identify specific job roles on which he could focus on. I completed a Skills Health Check exercise with John and influenced him to consider driving as a career as he said he was comfortable in his volunteer role and enjoyed meeting new people and helping them. I updated his CV in preparation for this. Over several meetings and discussions with John, together we came up with job suggestions such as lorry driver, coach driver, chauffeur and bus driver. Together we looked at the availability of vacancies in the local area and the recruitment methods used. Between meetings we both agreed to research transport companies and aim to apply speculatively using his CV and a covering letter which we discussed. It was apparent that bus driving vacancies were plentiful and seemed to meet Johns’ strengths and skills, John clearly had a helpful and caring manner.
I researched local companies to find that Go North East were recruiting drivers. I encouraged John to make an online application and showed him how to do this. Also Stagecoach were advertising and John also made an application to them. After 2 weeks John received a reply from Go North East asking for him to complete a formal application form which we worked on together. Having worked in Johns’ local Jobcentre, I noticed that there was a 4 week Work Awareness Course advertised by the same company and to ask the Work Coach for further details. I liaised with his Work Coach and we were able to arrange for John to attend a 1 day awareness session at a local college and to pay his expenses incurred.
After his awareness day, John informed me that he was successful and had been accepted on a further 4 week Awareness Course in December where he would be assessed and interviewed as to his suitability for the job. He was excited at being accepted after such a long period of unemployment. I negotiated with his Work Coach to provide him with a bus pass covering his travel expenses. During his time on the course we kept in touch, I wanted to make sure that he was coping with the demands of the course and keep him motivated to ensure he completed. John was very motivated and his confidence levels had increased significantly over the last few weeks.
In early January, John was delighted to ring me and tell me he had been successful at interview and had received a letter advising a conditional offer of employment. John attended a pre-employment assessment, passed a medical and eye test examination and was advised of the next stages in his journey to become a bus driver. John had opted to work for National Express as he preferred long distance driving. He was to receive training once his driving licence was updated to provisional PCV status. He would need to pass a driving theory test and coach driving test on completion of his training which his prospective employers felt would be a formality. John needed to pay £32 for a tachograph card and £19.99 for his theory test book. I offered to help him with this and MOTW reimbursed the cost.
John is currently awaiting his formal training to start once his licence is updated.
John has thanked me personally for the support he has received on his journey. He has remarked how our advice sessions together convinced him to take his career path and was particularly complementary on the “patient, motivational and inspirational ideas” I had inspired him towards on his current path. He found that the support in paying for his incurred expenses was a great motivation to him as he was worried about that aspect. He said that” “his life had changed for the better when he joined MOTW and began working with me”