J2E for Mr Z!
Mr Z has been out of work for a number of years and was referred to J2E by the Advisor at Lewisham JCP. He asked his advisor if there was anything he could do as he was unable to go to work due to his disability and illness. He was informed of the J2E programme and volunteered to take part. He was part of the first course which met every Tuesday and fortunately for him, at a venue which is a few minutes from his house. This meant that he could walk to the venue and do his bit of exercise.
Before he joined the Journey to Employment Job Club Mr Z was frustrated at not being able to go to work and not having anything engaging to do. He had came from a construction background and was excited about joining the club and wanted to see if he could get ideas on the kind of work he could do whilst coping with daily pain and with his physical disability.
Although it took time to get to know people within the group, with time they were comfortable in each other's company and started to share ideas, suggestions and mutual support. This helped Mr Z to cope with his own issues of pain. He was supportive to a member of the group who faced homelessness by giving him advice that helped him to keep his home.
He soon started staying behind at the end of each session making sure the room was tidy and asking if the Employment Specialist required any help before he left. During his time on J2E she was involved in various training activities and presentations.
The manager of the local ASDA, who was engaged on the project, was of significant benefit to him as he confirmed that employers, like ASDA, considered one’s attitude and keenness to learn more important than qualifications. He reassured the whole J2E group that reasonable adjustments can be made for motivated disabled applicants.
Mr Z's confidence and self-esteem have increased so much that even though he was not ready to look for work, he volunteered to continue to attend the next course of the project and acts as a peer mentor to new intakes on the project. He encouraged the next group by talking about of how he benefited from the project.
From his Job Centre Advisor, his J2E Employment Specialist and the support from his peers, all working in collaboration, Mr Z moved steps forward in his journey to employment. He progressed from being unemployed and unoccupied to being connected and engaged, with something to look forward to each week. Mr Z connected with others, built relationships and found something constructive to do after his course. Without the partnership he might still be isolated and feeling hopeless.
Mr Z said, "It is good to know that I am not alone and I gained friends, feel useful and have a renewed sense of purpose. I feel good in myself”.