Isobel Reid, 56, has battled with a serious back condition, mental health problems and alcohol addiction for much of her adult life. Having given up drinking four years ago, Isobel was determined to find work but feared her chances were minimal with no qualifications or recent work experience.
She was referred to Ingeus, where specialist employment advisor Laurie MacPherson worked with her to build her confidence and prepare for a working life.
"I was a bag of nerves to begin with, unable to travel on public transport or take part in the Ingeus group sessions. I really thought my working days were over," said Isobel, who now catches the bus to work at one of Mitie's major client's premises in Glasgow. "Ingeus doesn't push you to do anything you don't want to, but gives you the self-belief and motivation to take small steps. Slowly my nerves settled and I really benefitted from hearing the experiences of other Ingeus clients."
After working on her confidence and interview technique, Isobel was invited to a Mitie Foundation 'Business Challenge Day'. Supported by Ingeus employment advisors and along with 30 other Ingeus jobseekers, teams were tasked with creating a business plan for an innovative product, device or service. They bid for 'money' from investors, created marketing, operational and financial plans and presented their finished proposals to a room of local employer partners. Isobel's team came joint first, but her real 'win' was subsequently gaining an interview with Mitie Clean Environments.
"I felt really important; to think a large company like Mitie wanted me. When I heard I had got the job, I was walking on air," concludes Isobel. "I am so much more outgoing now and hope that my experiences can help others in similar situations. I've learnt not to make excuses for myself. I got help, got a job, and it's changed my life."
The Mitie Foundation is an independent charity funded by Mitie Group plc, whose aim is to improve employment chances for those furthest from the job market. Ingeus delivers the government's Work Programme across Scotland and works with long-term unemployed jobseekers like Isobel to give them the skills, confidence and practical support they need to get into work. Ingeus' employer partnership coordinator, Anthony Phillip, also works with local employers to source vacancies and recommended jobseekers for roles. He said:
"The employers and partners that Ingeus works with realise that there are talented, work-ready people out there who just need to be given a chance. Using innovative recruitment sessions like the Mitie Foundation Business Challenge Day gives our clients the chance to shine in front of prospective employers."
Isobel's line manager at Mitie, Service Support Manager Jeanette Rollo, couldn't agree more: "We look beyond people's history and gaps in their CV. It was immediately obvious that Isobel was polite and keen to work. We've gained a real star, Isobel is perfect for this job."