When Alan Beal decided to switch careers, a complete change in both industry and the type of job was not on his radar. He thought he’d move industry at most. Which is why, after just a few weeks on Ingeus’s JETS programme, he’s surprised to find himself settling into – and thriving in – a role as an energy advisor.
Spurred on to change jobs by a series of bad luck, 59-year-old Alan left the heavy goods industry where he'd worked as a mechanic for the last 18 years. After taking time out, he registered with his local Jobcentre Plus and was referred to Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS), a separate strand of the Work and Health Programme (WHP), where he was supported by Ingeus employment coaches Stephanie and Diane.
“I went through an avalanche of hard times during the pandemic,” explains Alan, from Oldham. “I lost my dad, my partner’s dad and we were both extremely ill with covid, among other issues. At the end of 2021 it all hit me – I’d been strong for everyone and I was feeling the pressure. I needed to reassess things.”
Alan felt sceptical about the support he would receive through JETS, imagining the programme to be run by “a bunch of do-gooders”. An hour-long conversation with Stephanie later, and he was left fully reassured at the help on offer.
He recalls, “I was unbelievable sceptical! I didn’t realise there were any organisations like JETS out there. Stephanie said that she’d help to find me a job within six weeks, and that’s what she did – she stuck to her word.
“I was open-minded about what I was going to do – although I did think I’d end up in DIY as I’d always been good with my hands. But I am good with people too, and that’s what Stephanie picked up on. She suggested new directions for me to go in that I’d never considered before.”
Alongside support with job hunting, Alan received help with interview skills – something he hadn’t needed to think about for 40 years. He was also impressed when Ingeus funded a new tablet for him to use as his old one didn’t support the JETS app.
At a time when energy costs are a source of concern for so many, Alan is thriving in his new role of finding solutions to people’s energy problems.
“I visit people in their homes and advise them on anything from a bulb to a boiler,” he explains. “It really isn’t a job I’d ever considered before! But I’m getting a lot of satisfaction from helping people and their gratitude makes it all worthwhile.
“JETS has been a light in the blizzard of bad luck thrown at me, and they have proven that good things will happen if you’re prepared to wait.”