Oliver takes positive steps with FutureYou

8 Apr 2023

Anxiety, depression and mounting debts had left jobless Oliver Griffin feeling overwhelmed. The 24-year-old from Oldham dreamed of a career in IT but didn’t know where to start.

Oliver, who is autistic, was lacking in confidence when he signed up to the FutureYou programme delivered by Ingeus and partners in Greater Manchester. The scheme provides practical and emotional support to young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

“I’d been unemployed since the start of the year,” says Oliver, who was referred to FutureYou by his work coach at Oldham Jobcentre Plus. “I have always been interested in IT but had no luck getting those sort of jobs; instead I was getting temporary admin roles. I was in debt as I was having to pay back benefits due to an error in calculating how much I was owed. On top of that, I was experiencing anxiety over life and personal events.”

Oliver was assigned an Ingeus mentor, Sally McFerran, to help him improve his employability skills and manage his anxiety. “Sally looked at my CV and gave me tips to improve it,” says Oliver. “One of the main things wrong with it was the fact that potential employers were not getting what they wanted to hear. I was missing certain key words and buzz words they were after, so my CV wasn’t making a lasting impression.”

Sally held one-to-one mindfulness sessions with Oliver before focusing on his work and job goals. She also taught him mindfulness methods such as box breathing, a technique involving slow, deep breaths, which can help to reduce anxiety. Mindfulness apps were recommended to help Oliver change his outlook and become calmer and more confident.

Oliver was referred to the Prince’s Trust for further support and gained qualifications covering stress and mental health awareness, alcohol and substance misuse. He also gained some valuable work experience to enhance his CV.

Next, Sally helped Oliver to apply for an apprenticeship as an IT/helpdesk specialist. Thanks to his newfound confidence, Oliver breezed through the interview and got the job. He says it flowed like an informal chat, which helped him to relax. He adds: “I am feeling really good about this, it’s the first job I’ve ever felt excited about. FutureYou has been fantastic, the programme has helped me in every aspect and I would definitely recommend it."

“Sally really worked with me and connected with me to help me get the most out of the service. That connection really worked for me and got me pumped up about getting a job, I felt more motivated. I am still dealing with anxiety and depression but thanks to Sally it’s more manageable now and it’s not limiting me anymore.”

Update October 2023: 
With Sally’s support, Oliver successfully applied for an apprenticeship as an IT helpdesk specialist: “I’m now 13 months into an 18-month contract and it’s going well,” says Oliver. “I’ve been doing a college course and learning on the job. I’m in a much stronger position than I was last year. I am still using the mindfulness strategies Sally gave me and now I’ve got a steady income, I feel more comfortable about paying my bills.

“FutureYou pushed me in the right direction and definitely had an impact. I want to stick with IT, it’s the thing I connect with the most. It just clicks and I find it easy to grasp. I’m really enjoying it.”

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