Andrew worked in our Skills and Employment Team in Camberwell as a Keyworker on the Pathways to Employment project which helps people overcome barriers to employment. Here he explains his work with C who needed help to increase his confidence after battling depression and anxiety.
"I came in to contact with C in November 2016 when he was referred to me by his Job Centre Coach. C had been claiming ESA (Employment Support Allowance) for over 3 years and was allowed to take part in permitted work where an ESA client can earn £116 per week without it affecting their benefits. C suffered from severe anxiety and depression but was positive and eager to sign up to Pathways.
C liked to attend appointments with me in the mornings as it reminded him of when he was employed and getting up and out early. He lived on his own and had worked the majority of his adult life until he was made redundant 3 years earlier. His background was working in warehouses and he had a range of professional warehouse qualifications and supervisory experience.
However, C’s confidence was very low and he explained that ‘his head would not let him go to work’. On the first session we discussed his CV, gradually building his confidence and I suggested he attend once a week. On his second session with a new CV created, he was inspired and kept coming back. We gradually built up a strong working relationship and he was attending regularly.
We applied mainly for retail jobs because these offered the vital flexibility he needed at this point in his life. As time went on, C’s confidence continued to rise. Some months passed and after lengthy discussions with me and his health worker, C made the decision to apply for full-time work in a warehouse.
We agreed to avoid zero-hour contracts due to their instability but found that this left very few warehouse roles as the sector is monopolised by casual contracts. After almost a year of working together, we finally came across a warehouse role with the government. The application process was very long and it took 11 months to complete all the required procedures, with various checks in place, but C preserved and was successful, starting work soon after.
C has sustained his role and is still there a year later. He still very much enjoys the work and is so grateful for the support he benefited from through Pathways to Employment. C has come on a long journey and we could never have predicted such a positive outcome with a good, solid professional job. This is despite the enormous amount of time it took, barriers encountered and multiple liaisons with different organisations and professionals. This was possible because of the enhanced support offered by St Giles Trust and our peer-led approach.
Work has been a major stabilising factor in C’s recovery and the rest of his life. He also enjoys considerable benefits including pension, advanced holiday allowance and the opportunity of overtime."