Twenty-year-old animal lover Chloe is fulfilling her childhood dream. Always passionate about animals, she’s now spending her working days surrounded by four-legged friends – thanks to support from Ingeus’s Working Well (Work and Health Programme) – as she em’barks’ on her paw-fect career as a dog handler.
Chloe, from Oldham, was referred by her local Jobcentre Plus to Ingeus Keyworker Janice in the Working Well (Work and Health Programme) team in Greater Manchester. The programme offers tailored support to individuals with disabilities and health conditions who are seeking employment. Commissioned by Greater Manchester Combined Authority, it soon provided Chloe with the support she needed.
“I was applying for every animal job going,” recalls Chloe. “Janice was really helpful in letting me know about them. I applied for so many jobs but I wasn’t getting anywhere because I didn’t have any experience. Then Janice saw a job on social media, and we got lucky when I was able to visit them in person to hand in my CV.”
Chloe was two weeks into a veterinary nursing course in 2022 when she decided it wasn’t for her. Eager to get practical experience with animals, she knew she wanted to learn first-hand. Her lack of experience, however, alongside her ongoing anxiety, meant she was struggling to find work.
She explains, “I’ve always loved animals – I grew up with horses, cats and dogs. They really help me to stay calm.
“Lockdown didn’t help my anxiety, and when I left university I was so nervous about the whole process of finding a job.
“Janice was brilliant. She put me forward for workshops to help my confidence and time management, and they really helped. Although I’m over the scariness of it all now, I’ll be able to take the tips I learnt with me.”
Working full time, Chloe – who is also a beauty social media influencer in her spare time – is responsible for looking after dogs staying in a luxury pet hotel. She cares for anything from six to 25 dogs at any time and is looking forward to running puppy training classes.
She says, “I love my job, it’s made such a difference to me. I’ve even been able to afford to buy a car. It’s a brilliant feeling to have a job that I love and to no longer need to check job sites each day.
“The programme has been a life-changing experience. The difference in me compared to last year is crazy. I can’t thank the team enough. I’ve got confidence in myself that I never thought I’d have again.”