Many workers found themselves furloughed during the first coronavirus lockdown – and Dana Nicholson was no exception. Unfortunately, due to uncertainty over how long the scheme would last, Dana’s employer let her go. The timing could not have been worse. Just two days later, it was announced that the furlough scheme would indeed be extended.
“It was a shame but by then all the paperwork was done,” says Dana, of Wesham, near Preston. As a single mother of two children, aged 12 and seven, she needed to find a job as soon as possible, but her confidence had taken a knock. Despite her years of experience in accounting and administrative work, she feared for the future: “I was a bit stressed and worried and kept thinking that I was not going to find a job,” says Dana, who is 41. “I started to doubt myself, wondering whether my skills were redundant.”
Dana’s work coach Sandra at Lytham Jobcentre Plus referred her to Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a separate strand of the Work and Health Programme (WHP), delivered in Preston by Ingeus. It is commissioned and financed by the Department for Work and Pensions and deemed to be a European Social Fund match funded programme.
Impressed by Dana’s experience and CV, Ingeus employment coach Helen Derry began supporting her in her search for work. This proved to be invaluable for Dana, who was applying for several jobs a week and needed to keep her spirits up. “Every time I spoke to Helen, she gave me a boost mentally and emotionally,” she says. “Helen picked me up a few times when I was down, encouraging me to keep trying. It was like having someone behind you as a team player to motivate you. Helen did that for me, she kept me positive and kept my eyes on the prize!”
Dana took full advantage of the Ingeus iWorks programme and completed online courses to keep her mind active. She also did two mock interviews with Helen to boost her confidence. This all paid off when Dana applied for a job at an accounting firm. The company called the next day to say they loved her CV and thought she would be perfect for the role. Dana completed tests and a brief interview online before attending a face-to-face interview, which she sailed through. “They were looking for two people, and later told me that they knew halfway through the interview I was one of the candidates they would hire,” says Dana.
She has started her new job as a finance assistant and couldn’t be happier. The company is family-oriented and offers flexible working patterns, which suits Dana perfectly. Another bonus is that the office is only a short drive from home – and close to her daughter’s high school. “I feel very, very lucky that I got this job, it ticks all the boxes,” Dana adds.
Ingeus supports the delivery of JETS in the North West, Greater London, Greater Manchester, the North East, and Central areas. https://ingeus.com/jetsnw