Jermaine worked as a Keyworker in our Skills and Employment team in Camberwell on the Pathways to Employment Project which helped people overcome barriers to progress towards employment. He explains his work with W who was sleeping rough after his release from custody but has now found a job and is getting his life together. Jermaine explains how he helped W achieve this.
"W has been engaged with the Pathways to Employment project for the last 10 weeks and we have made some exceptional progress since his release from prison, after serving a 9 year custodial sentence for supplying Class A drugs. He spent 6 years of that sentence in South America and 3 years within the United Kingdom after being repatriated. After an initial assessment, we identified that W needed help with a range of issues to help him secure a job. These included help with his CV, advice on how to disclose his conviction to potential employers, brushing up on interview techniques and support with online job searches. He also needed housing advice, help to understand the benefits system and a referral to Suited and Booted to obtain suitable clothing for interviews.
Within a short time of engaging with Pathways, I found W suitable accommodation and helped him find a part-time role as a cleaner. Unfortunately all the travel to and from work, probation, the job centre and his residence had put a large financial burden on the limited finances he had. He was in receipt of Universal Credit but suffered a large shortfall in funds. This placed him in a situation where he was forced to choose between eating and travelling to work.
Luckily we successfully applied to the St Giles Trust Hardship fund to alleviate this. The grant of £150 helped him with travel and food costs over that month until he was paid. Being given this support was a massive relief to W and helped him continue his exceptional progress. He had gone from sleeping rough to becoming housed and employed in such a short span of time. It would have been a real shame for him to have to give up on either of these because he lacked the funds to properly look after himself at that point in time.
The cleaning job role enables him to budget and balance his income and outgoings at the end of the month, leaving him in a position where he is better off working than being solely on benefits.
W is now working hard to rebuild his relationship with his family, show them that he has learnt from his mistake and has moved forward with his life positively.
Thank you for taking the time to read this story and I hope you find it useful and informative in highlighting the barriers facing a job seeker who is also a recent prison leaver."