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Author: Holly Tuffin

Ethan Reeve

Name Ethan Reeve
Company BAE Systems
Location Blackpool
Last Known Job Role  BAE Systems Fitting Apprentice

“Giving people the opportunity to unlock their potential is so important. It’s the chance for an employer to gain a great member of staff, but unlocking this potential takes nurturing and support, and without that the future doesn’t look too bright for young people. Take the chance, or miss out on hidden talent.”

  • What is your background? i.e. name, where you’re from, barriers you faced, etc.

Ethan Reeve from Blackpool. 21yrs old, 18 when started. Left school at 16 and did 3 years at college with no interest from employers. Young carer for Mum and Sister with disability and health issues. Third year fitting apprentice with BAE Systems.

  • How did you get involved with Movement to Work?

Heard about MtW through the young careers centre. After successfully completing the taster day, all candidates were given different placements initially; Ethan was originally assigned an office role. This wasn’t what he wanted to do so BAE changed the course to something more practical. Now signed up to be a MtW & Prince’s Trust ambassador.

  • How has the programme helped you in terms of your employment journey? 

Transferable skills learnt on the programme helped to set them up for life in general and continues to use. i.e. organisation, time-keeping, etc. Visibility and accountability helped build confidence. Staff members at BAE gave contact details – long-lasting relationships and support to this day.

  • Do you have any advice for other young people who are perhaps in a similar position to you prior?

Perseverance is key. Money isn’t important, focus on building your skills first and money will come later. Look for other opportunities such as volunteering or courses to show employers that you are motivated. “You can’t expect it to come to you, you need to go out and get it.”

  • What would you say to employers to convince them to join?

Giving people the opportunity to unlock their potential is so important. It’s the chance for an employer to gain a great member of staff, but unlocking this potential takes nurturing and support, and without that the future doesn’t look too bright for young people. Take the chance, or miss out in hidden talent.


Ethan Reeve is 21-years-old from Blackpool, a large town and seaside resort on the Lancashire coast in North West England. Ethan finished school and began a Level 3 Triple Diploma in Engineering at a local college, which was a lot to take on as Ethan is also a young carer. Ethan’s sister is severely disabled with health and learning difficulties, and his Mum also has health challenges. So a lot of Ethan’s life and spare time has been dedicated to helping them and doing errands to support the family. Even though Ethan says he “never really saw it as a carers’ role”, but just what it meant to be a good brother and son.

Following completing college, Ethan struggled to get a job because he lacked relevant work experience, so alongside persevering with applications, he also worked for 2-years as a fast food delivery driver. The job wasn’t right for what he really wanted to do, but he took the job to earn some money and show that he could “show up for work on time” and prove his level of commitment to an employer.

Ethan began looking for opportunities to volunteer his time to boost his employability, and in a conversation with fellow young carers, he learned about the BAE Systems Movement to Work scheme through The Prince’s Trust. Things moved quickly – he heard on a Friday, went on the taster day on Monday, and soon found out he got a place on a 4-week work experience programme with BAE Systems.

During the first week he learned all about employability training, and understanding the value of transferable skills such as perseverance, good communication, team-building, and time management. With these key skills now in place, he felt so much more confident and ready to take on the world of work.

In the second week, he was placed in an area of the business called Support Products – at first he was disappointed with where he was placed but in the end it ended up being a fantastic way to broaden his horizons and learn new things. He adds “I have to say a big thank you to all the team in Support Products who set-up a really great 2-week placement. I soon realised it wasn’t really about where I was placed, but the brilliant activities they put in place where I could really learn and hone in on my skills. They were all such great mentors and continue to be in touch which is something I really appreciate.”

In the fourth week, it was all about C.V. building and effectively communicating the hard and soft skills he had to offer a business. He adds “This was another really useful part of the work experience, but I was lucky that I also had the support of my Dad to get this right. It was during this time that I realised that I was really fortunate as most people on the course couldn’t rely on the support of their family and really needed a lot of help with this.”

After the placement, it was time to apply for what he really wanted – an apprenticeship. This time though, Ethan was boosted by all the employability training and transferable skills he had gained, and the invaluable experience of being able to talk to people who are already “doing the job” so that you know what to aim for and what to expect. Ethan adds “I’d also like to express my gratitude to Anthony Burdis from The Launch Group and Greg Plummer from The Prince’s Trust as they were a massive part of this experience and gave extra support afterwards even when this was not part of their job role.”

The moment of truth – “I still remember so clearly the day I found out I got the apprenticeship. I was actually out on a delivery job and my girlfriend was in the car. She noticed the message and told me, and when I opened it up and read ‘Congratulations’ it was such an amazing feeling. I ran down the street! I just couldn’t contain the excitement after waiting so long for this to happen. I’ve still got the video of me telling my Dad later that day, he thought it was just going to be another let down like the other applications I had made, but then I casually slipped it in that I got it.. and then the penny dropped… and he was just so happy. My Dad isn’t the sort to get emotional, but I think he shed a tear that day.”

It was this great experience that has meant that not only did Ethan get the apprenticeship he truly deserved, but he now feels committed to inspiring other young people to not give up on the job they want.

When asked “Do you have any advice for other young people who are perhaps in a similar position to you prior?” Ethan says: Perseverance is key. Money isn’t important, focus on building your skills first and money will come later. Look for other opportunities such as volunteering or courses to show employers that you are motivated. You can’t expect it to come to you, you need to go out and get it.”

When asked “What would you say to employers to convince them to join?Ethan says:

“Giving people the opportunity to unlock their potential is so important. It’s the chance for an employer to gain a great member of staff, but unlocking this potential takes nurturing and support, and without that the future doesn’t look too bright for young people. Take the chance, or miss out on hidden talent.”

Ethan is now in his third year of his Apprenticeship at BAE Systems, and is a Movement to Work Youth Ambassador, committed to sharing his story and helping other #YoungPeopleWork, no matter the barriers they may face.

Zoha Khan

Name Zoha Khan
Company Unilever
Location London
Last Known Job Role  Procurement officer

Zoha’s performance whilst on the Movement to Work Scheme was of such a high standard that she was offered a six month contract to work within procurement. Within the next three months her performance had gone to such a level that she achieved a full time contract as a procurement officer within IT for the UK and Ireland.

Zoha Khan came to the UK following some enormous personal and professional challenges. Zoha got her chance to work at Unilever following a strong performance on the Movement to Work Scheme. Zoha has demonstrated enormous determination to overcome her barriers which is now being felt within her work at Unilever.

The Movement to Work Scheme gave her four weeks valuable experience within business and the opportunity to show her talents in a way that she had never been able to in the past.

Whilst on the Movement to Work Scheme Zoha went above and beyond in her procurement role taking on extra projects such as key activation work within Pot Noodle and supply chain, making her talent and determination clear to the business very early on. Zoha also took the opportunity to develop herself further by taking on extracurricular learning at Unilever such as interview and excel training, which would stand her in great stead in the near future. On top of this Zoha also took the lead on developing some key relationships within the business and ensured that she supported fellow Movement to Work placements to help them with their progress towards gaining employment.

Zoha’s performance whilst on the Movement to Work Scheme was of such a high standard that she was offered a six month contract to work within procurement. Within the next three months her performance had gone to such a level that she achieved a full time contract as a procurement officer within IT for the UK and Ireland. It was Zoha’s desire to make a difference to herself and the environment that she works in which got her this role. As she is the only contact for IT procurement in the UK Zoha uses this autonomy to drive things forward and help make the UK business a slicker and more cost effective operation, allowing Unilever to progress and serve its customers better. Zoha has been able to use her challenging experiences to great effect and her drive to make a better life for herself and others is born out in the great progress she has made in recent months.

Broch Angleston

Name Broch Angleston
Company Civil Service
Location
Last Known Job Role Policy Advisor

“More than anything, the support of the people that I have worked with has been overwhelming. I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by how much time and energy has been invested into my experience at GDS. Their dedication to providing me with the best platform to succeed will have a lasting impact on my confidence when taking the next step in my career.”

‘The Movement to Work programme was an opportunity I grasped with both hands. I had been struggling with finding permanent and full-time employment for four months, rejected frequently due to my lack of experience. This increasingly knocked my confidence. Frustrated by my situation, I decided to go to my local Jobcentre Plus. Little did I know that this would lead me to the Government Digital Service (GDS) – who at that point I had never heard of!

Eight weeks at GDS and I feel more confident in my abilities than I have ever done. Being pushed out of my comfort zone and being given real responsibility challenged me to work harder. To successfully complete a task to an excellent standard, whilst doing something completely new is an exhilarating experience.

‘More than anything, the support of the people that I have worked with has been overwhelming. I’m incredibly grateful and humbled by how much time and energy has been invested into my experience at GDS. Their dedication to providing me with the best platform to succeed will have a lasting impact on my confidence when taking the next step in my career.

I have also been lucky enough to be offered employment at GDS!’

Four years on from my placement (A 2021 update from Broch) 

I wrote this for Movement to Work in 2017 after completing my placement and securing a temporary contract, that very shortly after became permanent! When I wrote this, I was thinking about a special group of people who had made my time at GDS in those short 8 weeks an amazing time and I was ecstatic that I was able to continue working with them.

“It is now 2021 and I guess you could say I’ve taken ‘a few more steps’ in my career. I am now working at a different department as a policy adviser and will soon be embarking on a policy apprenticeship to work towards accreditation. I am very excited for the future and I still cannot quite believe where this journey has taken me. A big thank you to everyone who has been involved in getting me here, I still cannot believe it!”

Aimee Grayson

Name Aimee Grayson
Company M&S (Prince’s Trust)
Location Hampshire
Current Job Role Customer Assistant

“Since knowing Aimee,  I have seen her grow in confidence and she is now able to save up towards her goal of going to drama school, which has developed her enthusiasm to stay motivated. It is amazing to see her progress and the fact that her contract has been extended shows how hard she works and how well she fits in with the team.”

Before engaging with the Trust, Aimee had graduated from college the year before, but found herself struggling to find employment due to her mental health deteriorating. Aimee was struggling with depression and found It hard to leave the house. This meant that she lost contact with her friends and was sanctioned twice due to missing her Job Centre appointments.

Her physical health also started to decline, as Aimee is diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (Type 3) which causes her muscles to weaken and her physical mobility to deteriorate, meaning she now relies on a wheelchair.

Since her Performing Arts course at college, Aimee wanted to be an actor in London. Her goal is to save up money so she can go to drama school but was unable to save money whilst she was unemployed.

Aimee engaged with the Get Into Retail programme with Marks and Spencer, completing group sessions and work experience in the Eastleigh store.

Initially, Aimee said she was very nervous about attending the programme, but felt that everyone was really welcoming. Reasonable adjustments were put in place to support Aimee in store, which meant she was able to take part in the work experience where she received excellent feedback from the Delivery Partner.

Considering Aimee’s anxieties about meeting new people, she got involved in the group sessions and her confidence increased, which was evidenced in her moving speech at the MtW Celebration Event in 2020.

Aimee successfully completed the programme and was offered an initial 3 month part time contract with Marks and Spencer which was subsequently extended. Since starting work, Aimee has settled in exceptionally well, with staff members saying she is part of the family. 

Aimee has enjoyed having a routine again, ensuring that she gets to bed on time and arrives early for work. Aimee recognises that she still has bad days with her mental health, but generally she has seen improvements and she is better able to manage this.

Aimee tells me that her family life has improved, as her mum is proud of her and does not have to worry about her being home alone all day. Aimee also said that getting paid weekly has been a big shock as she no longer worries about money and is able to start saving towards her goal of going to drama school.

Rob O’Connor

Name Rob O’Connor
Company Accenture
Location London
Last Known Job Role  Software Engineer

Rob lived on an estate where life was very tough; he was assaulted multiple times. A close family member died on his 11th birthday and the grief he felt from this, and the anxiety and depression from living in such a difficult environment, led to him not engaging with school.

Rob ended up with few qualifications, and though his parents were supportive he had no other encouragement or guidance. He was unemployed for three years and depression led to him not caring about his future.

When he reached 21, his mindset suddenly changed and he knew he had to do something with his life. He started searching online for potential careers and noticed there were a lot of adverts for software engineers. But he wondered how someone like him could ever do a job like that. However, in online searches Rob came across a link to Movement to Work, which got him a work placement at technology and consulting firm Accenture.

Rob treated the placement like a three-week interview. When he got an interview for a job at the end of the placement he was confident, the placement had really helped. After the interview the feedback was that he had thoroughly prepared, with great research.

Rob was offered an apprenticeship, working on voice-activated systems like Alexa, and is doing a technology degree.


Tell me a little about your background and why it was challenging for you to move into work?

I grew up initially in the UK and then moved to Ireland with my parents. I lived on an estate where life was very tough; there were fights all the time, I was assaulted multiple times and I had my jaw broken, there was a lot of crime. A close family member died on my 11th birthday and the grief I felt from this, and the anxiety and depression from living in such a difficult environment, led to me not engaging with school. I used to call in sick all the time, I didn’t want to be there.

Consequently I ended up with few qualifications, and though my mum and dad were very supportive I had no encouragement or guidance from elsewhere. I was unemployed for three years; the depression led to me not caring about my future. I looked for work and had no interest in doing anything that someone with few qualifications could do.

What was it that made you want to change your home life and build a good career for yourself?

It’s difficult to say what was the trigger but I realised that when I reached 21, a milestone, that I had achieved nothing. My mindset suddenly changed and I knew I had to do something with my life. I started searching online for potential careers and I happened to notice that there were a lot of adverts for software engineers and that they seemed to earn quite a lot of money! But I wondered how someone like me could ever do a job like that?

However, I knew I had to push myself so I started researching what being a software engineer involved, and then found myself starting to learn programming from online tutorials.

How did you hear about Movement to Work? And tell me a little about how they have helped you?

In my online searches for how I could achieve that dream job, I came across a link to Movement to Work. It has employer members who sign up to offer work placements to people like me. Movement to Work got me on a three-week work placement at technology and consulting firm Accenture. I thought when I started it: “This is my shot at being a success, I’m going to make this happen.” It was the first time I’d been confident enough to think that, and someone had given me the chance.

 How did you get into the job with Accenture?

The placement gave me an insight into the corporate world, and it allowed me to see that I could be part of it. I had great feedback, which fed my new-found confidence further, I knew I could do this!

I treated the placement like a three-week interview, I knew that everything about me was being relayed to Accenture’s recruitment people. I gave everything I had. When I got an interview for a job at the end of the placement I was confident, the placement had helped so much. I was told that I needed to show my passion for technology and that I was eager to learn. After the interview the feedback was that I had shown these, and that I had thoroughly prepared with great research.

What does a typical day involve?

My days are really varied. One of the things I do is build software that helps voice-activated systems listen and respond better, and do what you actually ask them! I’m also doing a technology degree and whilst most of it is based on my work I also attend lectures. I work in offices around London depending on what I’m working on day to day. I’d like to work from Accenture’s overseas offices too one day.

What kind of qualities do you need? And any specific qualifications?

You need to be willing to learn and have a passion for technology. Self-motivation is important too, I can’t play a video game now for more than five minutes because I know there’s something better I could be doing, my new attitude has helped in my personal life too.

As for qualifications: there are two groups of people, some with qualifications and some without. Within each group there are talented people who can do the jobs business require, I’m in the latter. Luckily companies like Accenture and Movement to Work’s other members recognise that looking deeper into the labour market uncovers people with unique talents. After the work placement Accenture put me on its ‘Trailblazer’ scheme that helps people like me prepare for the demands of an apprenticeship.

What are the best things about the job?

The feeling of having an impact; building software and people using it. For example, when working on voice-activated systems like Alexa, I worked with older people and in care homes making sure that what I did could be used by them to do things like liaising with carers and making medical appointments.

And what are the most challenging?

Getting my head around new and complex technology concepts and terminology. Luckily I’ve found that I love solving problems so when I see something and I think “Oh no, what does that mean?!” the next thing I know is that I’m enjoying working it all out.

What advice would you give to young people from challenging backgrounds who want to move into work?

You must start to believe in yourself, even if you think others don’t. Don’t write yourself off, there was nothing in my background that would have suggested my career. And if you don’t know what you want to do, start a process of elimination to decide what you definitely don’t want to do! And if a number of things appeal then research them, and look at online tutorials like I did for programming, that really worked for me.

Harrison Marbrook

Name Harrison Marbrook
Company Tesco
Location Leicester
Last Known Job Role  Customer delivery driver

Inspired by his journey into meaningful work, Harrison filmed a video that was shown on the Tesco social media platforms and has now been viewed 65 thousand times and was used by the company to promote diversity in the company. He continues to inspire others with similar conditions. You can view Harrison’s video here.

After being out of work for three years, Harrison knew his biggest challenge when interviewing for roles was his social anxiety due to suffering with Asperger’s. Harrison came to Tesco on their work placement programme where he expressed an interest in driving and, after assessment he moved into a role as a customer delivery driver in Tesco’s Leicester store.

Jawad Bashir

Name Jawad Bashir
Company BT
Location West Midlands
Last Known Job Role  BT Graduate Scheme

“The Movement to Work scheme at BT was a catalyst for career; the mentoring, work experience and other activities really enabled me to come out of my shell and show my skills, the sort of things that don’t come out on a CV. I know how to express myself now. After progressing from BT’s graduate scheme I want to progress into management, it’s a real possibility now.”

Jawad left university after doing a chemical engineering degree. He wanted an analyst role, looking at data, quality or business but employers wanted 1-2 years’ experience before anyone would be considered. So he was stuck in the ‘no experience, no job’ cycle.

When looking at jobs websites Indeed he came across Movement to Work and its placement schemes. He was offered a three-week placement with BT. The three weeks comprised team-building and workshops about the world of work and, importantly, some real work experience in data analysis. “Ironically,” said Jawad, “I was looking at data around people attending work-placement schemes, to help attract more people.”

After the placement Jawad found a job at Flomatik, the telecoms network services company, before subsequently joining the BT graduate scheme.

Mia Beresford

Name Mia Beresford
Company Ingeus
Location Garston
Last Known Job Role  Customer Service Assistant

“I’m three weeks-in and love it. I work with lots of other people my age so it’s fun, but I also feel useful and like I’m contributing at home,” concludes Mia, who lives with her mum and brother. “Christmas will certainly be much cheerier now I have a job.”

For 19 year-old Mia Beresford from Garston, facing a job interview with a major supermarket chain was a daunting prospect. With just one day to go, Mia’s first appointment with an Ingeus employment coach was perfect timing.

Mia found herself searching for full-time work after closely missing the required A-level grades for her university course. With various part-time work experience under her belt the determined teen set about applying for roles but struggled to make progress as she juggled her efforts with lockdown complications.

Mia’s Work Coach, Sarah Brannon at Garston Jobcentre Plus recommended the new WHP Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) Programme, which provides one-to-one employability support geared at getting people back to work quickly during the pandemic. Ingeus delivers WHP JETS in the north west and Mia was contacted by employment coach Joanne Carter the day before her interview at Tesco Extra in Toxteth.

“I was worried about how I’d handle my interview so having someone on hand to give me some practical tips was great,” said Mia. “Joanne knew a lot about working in retail and customer service, so we went through some example interview questions and answers. We also talked about what questions I might ask at the interview which really made me think. It was a great tip and made me much more confident on the day. The interviewer even commented that I’d asked her a great question!”

Mia was successful and now works as a full-time customer service assistant in the fresh food department of the store. Joanne has also been on hand to ensure Mia’s start date and induction went smoothly.

“I’m three weeks-in and love it. I work with lots of other people my age so it’s fun, but I also feel useful and like I’m contributing at home,” concludes Mia, who lives with her mum and brother. “Christmas will certainly be much cheerier now I have a job.”

Mia is undecided whether to take up a deferred university place to study a different course next year and for now is thankful to be gaining valuable employability experience, while also helping her mum pay the household bills. 

WHP JETS is a separate strand of the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and is commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions, with support from the European Social Fund. Ingeus supports the delivery of JETS in the North West, Greater London, Greater Manchester, the North East, and Central areas.

Beth McMullen

Name Beth McMullen
Company Ingeus
Location Workington, Cumbria

“Being back in work has given me purpose and stability again. I may be based at home, but for me that’s the safest place right now. It’s still helped me to calm my nerves and meet new people. I really enjoy it and hope that it will show any future potential employers that I’ve been usefully employed despite lockdown.”

Beth, a participant in Cumbria  supported by the JETS employability programme has described the stability and focus that being back in full time work has given her.

Beth McMullen, who is 25 and lives in Workington, had found being unemployed during the pandemic a profound challenge. Made redundant from her hospitality role and forced to shield due to severe asthma, Beth’s mental health deteriorated as her numerous job applications hit a wall of silence.

“Anxiety took hold and I started experiencing panic attacks,” explains Beth. “It was so frustrating not hearing back about applications and I was limited in what I could apply for.”

Beth was referred to the WHP JETS (Work and Health Programme Job Entry Targeted Support)by her Jobcentre Plus Work Coach and began remote sessions with Ingeus’s Claire Furness.

Ingeus delivers JETS across the north west region. The programme provides light-touch support to recently unemployed people, getting them back to work quickly. It is commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions and receives support from the European Social Fund.

“Claire helped me to develop my CV and ran through mock interview questions to prepare me for returning to work,” continued Beth. “She also gave me tips on relaxation and breathing exercises to combat my nerves. When she found a suitable telephone-based customer service role for me working from home, I was in a much stronger position to successfully apply.

“I am so glad to have had that support. I’ve met lots of nice people in my new job, albeit virtually. It’s a whole new network of friends, many of whom seem to have had similar concerns and experiences as me.”

Jamal

Name Jamal
Company BT
Location Birmingham
Last Known Job Role  Retail

“The BT Work Ready Programme opened my eyes to the vast reservoir of abilities I have”.

“Knowing what I had to offer to potential employers has helped create belief in myself and my potential and how I could use them to work collaboratively with a team to create something wonderful. It greatly improved my confidence moving forward in applying for work knowing exactly what I had to offer to potential employers.”