“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.”
One of the first participants in Cumbria to be supported by the new 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, has found being unemployed since March this year a profound challenge. Made redundant from her hospitality role and forced to shield during the pandemic 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.”
When the WHP JETS (Work and Health Programme Job Entry Targeted Support) scheme launched across the north west in September 2020, Beth was referred 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.”
Beth began work again at the beginning of November 2020.