Case Study

Spotting potential behind lost hope

20 Jun 2024
Getting a job at a store just five minutes’ walk from her home means that Tracy has no excuse for being late for work. Not that it’s likely given her enthusiasm for her new job! 

Tracy is a retail assistant at a newly opened discount store in Burnley, Lancashire and credits the Work and Health Pioneer Programme for giving her a whole new outlook on life. It’s a world away from some of the days the 59 year-old freely admits to not opening the curtains or getting dressed during six long years out of work. With a host of debilitating health conditions including arthritis, high blood pressure and depression, Tracy says she thought there was no way to get another job. 

“Who was going to take me on with illness, at nearly 60,” she comments. “I felt there was no point, it was the end for me, being unemployed for that long just kills you inside.” 

Keen to seize any opportunity for help, Tracy jumped at the chance to join the North West Pioneer programme. Delivered by Ingeus, it gives substantial employability support to people receiving Universal Credit. 

The Burnley team were quick to spot Tracy’s effervescent, albeit slightly dampened, personality: “I could tell straight away that Tracy was a very lovely, bubbly person with a great personality. I was shocked when she told me she lacked confidence in herself,” recalls Pioneer Employment Specialist, Anthony. 

Tracy adds: “The Burnley team immediately made me feel special. They could see the potential in me even when I couldn’t. I’d just missed the recruitment drive for the new store but Ingeus knew the employer so well that they put in a late recommendation for me. The fact that they believed in me so quickly and would do that for me really opened my eyes. It gave me such a boost that they could see that in me. I couldn’t believe how quickly I was at the induction and starting work.” 

Tracy now balances her health conditions with 15 hours’ work a week at the shop, sharing her infectious personality with customers at the till.  

“It’s brilliant,” enthuses Tracy, who started work in mid-March and joins a whole team of other Ingeus participants working in the store. “My advisor is checking in on me regularly making sure all’s well. It is!  
“I honestly don’t know what I would have done without Pioneer. I wish it had been around before. I thought there was no hope for me. The Ingeus team, and getting back to work, has literally saved my life.” 

Recommended Articles