Before joining the GREAT Project, Sukhwinder faced multiple barriers to work, including anxiety, mental health issues, a disability and lack of skills, all of which were preventing him from finding his first job. So when his local job centre referred him to the GREAT Project, he was happy to sign up.
Meeting with his Employment Support Officer (ESO), Yachna, Sukhwinder was initially quiet and shy, but slowly opened up about the difficulties he was having looking for work and other personal issues. Together, Sukhwinder and Yachna drew up a support plan that he was happy with, agreeing on the activities he would attend.
Firstly, Sukhwinder had one-to-one support from Work Club, where he created an up to date CV, practiced writing cover letters, job searching and using online job sites. Sukhwinder had previously found big group sessions overwhelming, so he appreciated the one-to-one support provided by the GREAT Project.
Sukhwinder also took the opportunity to attend the behind the scenes tours at Next and East Midlands Airport, organised by the GREAT Project’s delivery partner, Business in the Community. Behind the scenes tours provide participants with the opportunity to visit different organisations, see how they function and find out about the different types of roles available. Many of these organisations also offer work experience and placements to GREAT Project participants.
Sukhwinder attended a budgeting workshop with in-house Employment Coordinator, finding it very useful. He also attended a one to one interview prep session, exploring how to answer specific interview questions by drawing on his own experiences, helping Sukhwinder think about his strengths and weaknesses.
Finally, Sukhwinder accessed the three day confidence building course offered by the GREAT Project. Delivered in small groups, participants are encouraged to work together to solve problems and complete tasks. Throughout the three days, participants talk and have fun whilst working towards the goal of completing ‘the challenge’.
“Confidence building was really good to meet other people and being able to share our opinions without any judgement from anyone.”
Putting into practice all that he had learnt on the GREAT Project, Sukhwinder felt confident enough to apply for jobs independently. Sukhwinder was successful in securing a position as a Retail Assistant at a national supermarket.
To those thinking of joining the GREAT Project, Sukhwinder said:
“Don’t be scared, they are here to help. Now I have a job, I’m more stable and don’t have to worry about going to the job centre. I feel better being able to support my family.”
Yachna, his ESO commented:
“Sukhwinder was a very polite young man. It was great to have worked with him and to have been able to offer support which he was looking for. During his time on the project he grew in confidence, made new friends and started to believe in himself. This was evident when he told me he had been successful in securing a job. I wish him all the best for the future.”