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A Case Study in Employment Support: Meet Mel and Lin

Our job is finding you work

The Pioneer Group’s Corporate Plan (2020-2025) sets out its vision of ‘Making Lives and Communities Better’ by providing opportunities that enable people to make a positive change in their lives.

Fundamental to this is the delivery of employment, training and volunteering support. As an anchor organisation, there has been a retained focus upon these thematic priorities which support our strategic aims and objectives.

Employment Coach Ian Smith, explains: “Adoptingc a ‘Work First’ approach ensures individuals receive the support they need to help boost their job prospects.

“We recognise that everybody’s situation is different and there can often be things which affect a person’s progress.”

Earlier this year, Ian was approached by two local women, in need of urgent support to boost their employability. Here is their story.

“We launched the Castle Vale Pledge for employment support in May 2023 and on May 12th a lady named Mel paid a visit to Compass Support at The Sanctuary to enquire about help with finding a job.” said Ian.

“Isobel, our Health and Wellbeing Project Coordinator, completed a referral form and advised that I would be in contact with her soon.

“Later that day I gave Mel a phone call to advise her of our services and invited her to a face-to-face meeting to discuss her requirements and how we could assist her. She mentioned that her sister, Lin, was in a similar position and asked if she could attend too. I agreed. Their appointment was booked for 15th May.

“Mel and Lin attended the session together. I listened to their concerns, how they felt unable to return to work due to their respective ages, and following redundancy and spending multiple months out of work. I asked Mel and Lin for their thoughts on any factors contributing towards this feeling and they explained how they were suffering a lack of digital skills, had no current CV or a basic understanding of the digital job application processes.

We discussed creating a CV for each of them and completed some templates. I introduced them to a basic digital course which both of them could access either from home or at the Compass Support Digital Hub.

“We then completed the relevant registration for support delivered by myself and agreed an Action Plan for Mel and Lin to follow; create a new CV, understand digital inclusion, perform valid job searches, learn interview techniques and most importantly, believe in themselves!

“Mel and Lin then started to attend the weekly Job Club sessions at The Sanctuary, where we uploaded digital copies to job sites and printed off some hard copies too, for distribution.

“By June, the sisters had both secured job interviews. We discussed interview techniques and researched their prospective employers’ values. I encouraged both to give it their best efforts.

“On June 9th Lin achieved full-time employment as a Quality Supervisor in a warehouse. Not to be outdone, Mel succeeded in securing a position as a full-time production assistant in a local metal finishers.

If you need help finding work, want to learn new skills to boost your employability or need training to get yourself job ready, please call our Employment Support Coach Ian Smith on 07443 278495. Alternatively you can email him at :