A day in the life of Restart Advisor Penny Hill

17 Jun 2022
No two days are ever the same for a Restart Advisor; jobseekers coming through our doors vary from executives affected by the pandemic to those unable to secure a role because they’re homeless. Each person receives tailored support and, while they may all go through the same process with us, everybody takes a different Restart Scheme journey before ultimately finding employment.

I joined Ingeus as a Restart Advisor when the programme launched in June 2021, and it has been amazing to see it grow. There are various Restart Scheme teams across the country, with Ingeus delivering the programme in Greater Manchester, Central and West London and with partner Serco in Central West Midlands. During the past year the 24-strong Wigan Restart Scheme team, where I’m based, has supported more than 400 people back into work after being referred to us by their local Jobcentre Plus. 

The office opens at 9am and our initial appointments get underway. Each referral has an initial face-to-face meeting lasting around 45 minutes, during which time I’ll find out more about the person’s situation and the work they’d like to do. I love engaging with people, finding out what they would like to do and guiding them to achieve that. But most of all, I love knowing that I’m making a difference. The role has evolved over the 12 months, and demand for the service is increasingly apparent.

Together, the participant and I create action plans and work out how they can achieve their goals. You can’t put a square peg in a round hole, so we sometimes have to take a few steps back to get them a better foundation. Someone might need financial support organising for interview clothes, for example, or a referral to a course to improve their English.

I supported one gentleman who was struggling to get work because of Brexit – he had lived in England for 59 years but had an Italian passport and birth certificate. It took months to sort the necessary paperwork, I even directly contacted the Home Office, but we got there eventually and he’s now happily re-employed.

Many people I meet have lost their confidence with work or job searching, especially due to Covid, but the Restart Scheme can support them to overcome this. For someone who has had bad experiences, a confidence building workshop or interview skills workshop will help, or for those struggling with technology our IT courses can be a lifeline.

It’s not about ticking boxes. It’s about listening, trying to understand the person’s needs and reassuring them that they will overcome their barriers. We want to get people ready for success when the right job comes along.

During the afternoon, I carry out telephone reviews, touching base with participants two weeks after their initial appointment to find out any progress. Two weeks later, we meet in person and review their action plans in more detail. This level of support continues once they’ve found employment too – we don’t just abandon them.

As the day draws to a close, I spend time completing admin tasks. This includes job searching for participants and sending them links to suitable vacancies, asking if they’d like us to put them forward. Similarly, I’ll use the time to contact employers. If we have a participant with niche skills who is eager to return to work, we’ll ring an employer and introduce ourselves, explaining that we have the ideal candidate for them. We held an open day recently which was a massive success, with participants and employers attending – I secured at least one job start from that day.

If you would like to make a difference by helping people back into employment, then why not become a Restart Advisor with Ingeus. Click here for more details.

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