Five steps to Mikella’s dream job

3 Jun 2024

Ten years of caring for her grandmother, with twin sons to raise and only zero-hours contracts as a means of earning money, Mikella was struggling for the stability that secure work can bring.

Then she met Muhammed, a Restart Scheme Advisor for Ingeus in London. He mapped out a five-step journey which, along the way, used the expertise of the Ingeus team and its specialist partners. It led to the 46-year-old landing her dream job as part of a security team guarding one of the capital’s highest profile buildings.

The Restart Scheme offers enhanced job seeking support to people who have been out of work for more than nine months and the Ingeus team made a start on transforming Mikella’s future from the moment she walked through the door of its Tower Hamlets office.

Initial discussions established she had previous stewarding experience and wanted a job in security. Although she had casual work only a full-time post would ease her financial troubles but, to gain security jobs, she needed official accreditation. She was referred to Ingeus training partner the CherryTree Foundation, where she was supported to complete a Level 2 Door Supervision and First Aid course, leading to a vital Security Industry Authority (SIA) badge. A referral to Debt Free Advice gave her support to manage her financial problems. She explains: “I had the threat of bailiffs but Debt Free Advice arranged breathing space for me to deal with my debts until I started earning money.”

Once the security job opening was identified, Muhammed worked with Mikella to complete the application. Together they reviewed her experience and transferable skills, creating a personalised supporting statement and tailored answers to job-specific questions. Next stop was Smart Works London – which supports women with the clothes and skills they need to nail a job. On a video call she was taken around the charity’s clothing store and picked out an appropriate outfit, followed by coaching in interview techniques. “It really helped me,” says Mikella. “It gave me confidence when I went for the interview.”

Armed with that new belief in her own abilities – and looking the part – she was rewarded with a job offer at the end of a day that saw 180 applicants apply for 30 positions.

“When they told me I’d got a job it was overwhelming. I screamed! It’s like I’m starting a whole new life. I still can’t believe it... I keep pinching myself!

“I’ve never earned money like this; I’ve never had this stability. The benefits are amazing and I see this as a job that will take me through to retirement.”

Mikella will start her new career with 10 weeks of training. She says: “I will be grateful to Muhammed forever. In fact all those I met at Ingeus are top, top people.”

Muhammed recalls: “Mikella wasn’t in the best place when she first came to us but I am so happy to see how far she has come. She has a whole new energy and I couldn’t be more pleased to have added to her journey.”

Ingeus Operations Director Amanda adds: “The Restart Scheme in London is only possible through the great work our partners deliver with us. With organisations such as CherryTree, Debt Free Advice and Smart Works we have created a fantastic network of referral partners helping our participants with all their barriers to work.”

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