When 56-year-old Jane Price decided to leave her increasingly pressurised job, she thought her age would make finding a new role challenging. But, thanks to the Job Entry Targeted Support programme she soon realised that her life experience was a selling point.
Former assistant store manager Jane, who had spent almost eight years in retail, was finding the pressures of sales targets and cost savings too much. After resigning, she signed up at her local Jobcentre Plus in Workington. Her work coach Peter Lister referred her to Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a separate strand of the Work and Health Programme (WHP), delivered in North West England 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.
“My work coach Julia Wilson was amazing right from the start,” explains Jane. “She understood my needs straightaway and knew what jobs the local area offered.”
Jane was reluctant to return to retail and, as that made up such a lot of her experience, she thought she’d struggle to find a different job. Couple those concerns with the knock her confidence had taken from her last job and she needed help.
“Julia was so good at building my confidence,” recalls Jane. “She helped me realise that my worries about being older shouldn’t put me off applying, and she reassured me that many employers wanted people with life skills. She did such a lot for me mentally – she put lots of positivity into the job search and valued me as a person.”
Julia also arranged for Jane to have a one-to-one session with JETS group facilitator David Hewson to practice her interview technique.
Jane says: “His advice was a great help. I didn’t realise how much interview questions had changed over the years, and I wouldn’t have been as prepared had I not met with David.”
Now, thanks to Julia and David’s support, Jane spends three days each week working in a building society where she gets paid more than in her previous job, has more time off for her hobbies and, above all, no longer considers her age to be a disadvantage.
She says: “My manager told me that my age helped me to get the job! I think he saw me as part of a balancing act with the younger employees.”