One year on and the Restart Scheme has given thousands new hope
7 Jul 2022
It’s 12 months since the launch of the Restart Scheme and what a 12 months it’s been! We’ll all have had different experiences, with new challenges and ways of life to adapt to, however, as we reach the first anniversary for the Restart Scheme, we take a look back at the past 12 months and how far our employment programme has come helping people find a new 'normal' within their lives.
Initially launched by the government in the face of soaring unemployment levels caused by the pandemic, the Restart Scheme now has wider terms of reference to provide support and help people get back to work.
Here at Ingeus, it meant extending our employment services with our biggest ever employability programme, with 25 new centres and more than 1,000 new colleagues to help us deliver the scheme on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in Central and West London, Greater Manchester, and, as a supply chain partner to Serco, in the West Midlands.
To think we successfully achieved this roll-out against a background of continued challenges presented by COVID-19 makes me extremely proud of our teams and how hard they have worked!
A year on, and look what has been achieved through the resilience, innovation, dedication and a willingness on the part of our participants to be guided along new routes into employment.
In our Central London and Manchester operations, we have helped the equivalent of a full bus load of people back into employment every week, starting their journey to new paid roles each working day of the year.
Many were without a job for the first time in their lives, as employment sectors such as hospitality and tourism were virtually wiped out. Others experienced poor mental and physical health – including the effects of long-COVID. As COVID-19 affected everyone, we saw a much higher proportion of professionals referred to us by Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches. Indeed, our highest earning participant found a job with a £110k salary after six months of support from our team in Hackney.
All this has meant finding innovative ways to deliver the help required to get the country back on its feet. While safe face-to-safe appointments continued, participants also had access to iWorks – an online careers portal offering courses such as interview skills, CV and cover letter writing, confidence building and an introduction to self-employment.
With the Restart Scheme focused on tailored support to match individual needs, and a personal plan guided by a dedicated advisor, we have held almost 60 in-house training courses as well as encouraging participants to complete nearly 3,000 external courses.
In Manchester these have included money management, Energising You and Your Finances, wellbeing events and, later this year, an ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) instructor training course.
Our Central and West London team has in-house wellbeing officers to support customers’ mental health and is piloting digital skills courses.
Our Performance Funds in both regions help support customers and potential employers who have specific needs, such as skills training and licenses to practice. We have also carried out around 60 intervention services such as support for those with drug, alcohol and gambling addictions.
All of these activities and partnerships enable us to better the lives of Restart Scheme participants. People such as Abi, a 42-year-old single parent whose background as a social worker in Africa led Restart Advisor, Ellie, to support her with applying for a vacancy as a domestic violence worker in a refuge. Two hours after the interview she was offered what she described as “my dream job; something I have always wanted to do”.
Or Stephen, 39, who spent 10 years as a personal assistant to a someone with a disability but lost his job during the pandemic. Our Restart Advisor, Chelsey, offered practical support – from money for transport costs to filling in forms for a passport – that helped him secure a job as a carer, which he says” makes me feel like I’ve achieved something at the end of each day”.
Or Swaine, who lost his job with an energy and regeneration company. Interested in picking up his former career in fibre-optic splicing, Restart Advisor, Leena, supported him to create an interview presentation. She found an apprenticeship vacancy, but he impressed the company so much he was offered a full-time job. He says:” I shed a little tear at that. It was the best news. I really feel elated.”
Abi, Stephen and Swaine – just three examples of what the Restart Scheme can achieve when delivered by committed and passionate people like our expert teams.
Our work with the Restart Scheme provides vital support to those in need. Ingeus teams have helped thousands of people to find a brighter future, and I thank them for their incredible efforts.