When Tracy started with the Age of Opportunity programme, she was feeling quite vulnerable after being made redundant. Throughout her career, Tracy had always worked. She had never been in this situation before. At that time, Tracy had no form of income and was not eligible for any financial assistance.
Chris, Calico Enterprise’s Employment Advisor, met with Tracy to discuss the type of work she would like to do and what she felt was currently preventing her from finding work. Tracy felt her skills no longer matched what employers were looking for.
Together, Chris and Tracy identified her job goals and developed a personal action plan with achievable goals. Chris also worked with Tracy to create sector-specific CVs which could be customised depending on the role being applied for.
Now, with an updated CV, Chris could show Tracy how to carry out an effective job search. Chris began to develop Tracy’s digital skills and confidence, helping her feel more competent in carrying out job searches independently.
After several months of looking for work, Tracy was invited for an interview. Chris prepared Tracy before her interview, discussing interview techniques and staging a mock interview. Tracy was successful and was later offered the job.
Chris continued to work with Tracy to prepare for her first day at work and subsequently, to provide in-work support to monitor her progression. Over several weeks Chris and Tracy kept in regular contact until ultimately, Tracy felt confident enough in her role to exit the programme.
How did you feel when you were made redundant, due to the pandemic?
Devastated. I had done my job for 20 years it was a massive part of my life. I loved my job and enjoyed working with my colleagues. With the Pandemic, I wondered if I’d find work and felt my age would go against me.
Being made redundant hit my confidence and self-esteem hard. I didn’t know what to do or how to look for work. I didn’t have a CV or anything to aid me with finding employment. Also, a lot of businesses were being hit hard by the Pandemic and this did make me worry slightly about my prospects of finding work.
What did you feel about moving your situation forward?
I wanted to move forward as I needed to work to survive, to have an income. Also, I needed that fulfilment in life. To go out there and earn a living, so I could enjoy myself and be able to afford things and go out with friends. I had never been in this situation before and was like a fish out of water. I did not know how to look for work. When I last looked for a job, you would look in the newspaper or on noticeboards, so it was a big culture shock. I will admit, I did not have the best computer skills.
How did you hear about the Age of Opportunity with Calico?
I heard about the Age of Opportunity through a friend. She had picked up a leaflet in Darwen Library. My friend told me about the Programme and the support she had received from it.
How did you feel when you were offered the Age of Opportunity?
It made me think that I might be able to do something and get somewhere. It gave me something to strive for and achieve. I looked over the leaflet and thought ‘this is the support I need’.
How did you feel about joining the programme, after your first initial conversation with Calico?
I was very impressed following my first conversation with Chris at Calico. Chris went through the support that would be available to me on the programme and how he could assist me with finding sustainable employment. From my initial conversation, I felt relief, a newfound belief and that I had acquired the advice of someone with the right expertise, to improve my employment prospects.
What did you feel you gained from the programme?
Mental health support, as I felt with my age I would never get anywhere. Employability support and IT support.
How did you feel after your first appointment with your advisor?
Like I might actually get somewhere and not be stuck in a rut.
What support did you have during the programme?
At my first appointment, Chris helped me create a CV – something I had never had to do before. We discussed the areas of support I required to help improve my prospects of finding work. We spoke about my job goals, transferable skills, goal setting and a plan of action.
Chris came across as very experienced and highlighted to me what my strengths are, which is not something I had given much thought to before.
During my appointments, I had support with job searching, applying for jobs, sending my CV via email, application forms, employer engagement, interview techniques, mock interviews, confidence building, motivation, IT/digital support, Better off Calculation, wellbeing, emotional support and in-work support.
Chris called regularly to see how I was getting on with my job search. It was great to have this support. I felt someone was on my side and would go above and beyond to help me.
I felt much better and upbeat after a conversation with Chris. He was always very positive, caring and encouraging as I looked to find employment.
What was your working relationship with your advisor like?
I had a very good rapport with my Advisor. Chris was well engaged, and we got on really well. Chris gave me the confidence to find work and gave me the belief that I am employable and have skills that employers are looking for.
Did you feel well prepared for your job interview?
I felt well prepared for my job interview. My advisor went through interview techniques with me and also conducted a mock interview.
During the interview, I naturally did feel nervous as this was only my second job interview in the past 20 years! When I came out of my interview, I felt really relieved.
Did you feel confident in your interview?
I did feel confident as I was fully prepared with the support I’d received. I did feel a little nervous as this was a job I had never done before, so it was a case of putting my best foot forward and letting the employer know the skills I have.
How did you feel when you were offered employment?
I was over the moon when I was contacted and offered me the job. I had been looking for work for around 9 months.
How are you progressing in your current job and are you enjoying it?
I am really enjoying my job and am happy with my role. I am now back out in the working world, earning a living, being able to do things and enjoy the finer things in life.
What was your overall impression of the support you received?
Excellent! I genuinely appreciate all the support I have received from Chris, Calico and the Age of Opportunity programme. They have been a great help in assisting me with finding work.