Case Study

From insects to infants – Janet’s surprising career switch

11 Jun 2024

Busy bee Janet says that she’s not happy unless she’s doing something. Admitting that she was seriously ‘down in the dumps’ after an accident threatened to end her working life, she’s now – at the sprightly age of 66 – doing something she never would have thought of thanks to the Restart Scheme in Manchester.  

Janet credits the support she’s received from Ingeus as ‘life-changing’, and what a life she’s led… 

From the age of seven, Janet accompanied her pest control father on jobs and later trained as a technician, tackling household pest infestations of every variety. A 40-year career, eventually running the family firm Kwickill Pest Control, earned her the crown of the UK’s longest serving female pest technician and a starring role in BBC Two’s Ladykillers series. A foot operation after falling off a ladder at work, age 63, prompted her to handover day to day running of the company to her son, but she soon missed the social benefits of working life. 

“I always need lots going on in my life,” says Janet, from Milnrow in Rochdale. “I kept busy helping to care for my elderly parents and three grandchildren, but I desperately missed interaction with other people, getting out and about. It really dented my confidence and mental health.” 

After attending the Jobcentre and being provided with a laptop, Janet was referred to the Restart Scheme in September 2023. It provides all-round employability support to get people into work, and although Janet admits to being sceptical at first, it proved to be just the tonic she needed. 

“Ingeus was brilliant,” continues Janet, who undertook confidence building, digital skills and CV workshops. “We practised interview skills, went through benefit calculations, and discussed vacancies. It got me firmly back on track, especially with all the online elements. When my advisor suggested a Teaching Assistant role, I knew I’d love it, but never would have thought of applying.” 

In February 2024, Janet attended a jobs fair organised by the Restart Scheme team in Rochdale and promptly received two teaching assistant provisional job offers. Sailing through her security checks and online training, Janet was all set to start. When a family bereavement threatened to stall Janet’s start date, her employer quickly reassured her that she was worth waiting for – they’ll work at her pace to get her new job underway. 

Janet concludes: “I never dreamt of retiring, and my family knew I never would either – we’re delighted I’ve found something totally new to throw myself into. People think I’m fearless because I was a pest controller but Ingeus helped me reach way out of my comfort zone. Everyone was fabulous. I’m so looking forward to my new job, the Restart Scheme has worked wonders for me.” 

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