Kyria gets his first ever job.
I am currently 37 years old and I have never been into paid work before. I have partaken in several volunteering roles such as Horticulture, Gallery Attendant and Accountant Assistant and I have also completed an Administration apprenticeship. I have been referred to Twining Enterprise by the Wellbeing Clinic in Haringey and I started receiving employment support in January 2018. I have been receiving treatment from the Secondary Mental Health services for the majority of my life.
I have been supported by an Employment Specialist called Cliff until November 2019 and then another employment specialist called Madalina, who took over and started supporting me in the same month. An introductory meeting was held with both Madalina and Cliff which served to ensure a smooth transition to work with my new Employment Specialist.
The employment sessions consisted in job searching and tailoring my CV to the roles that I was interested in applying for. These roles were very diverse as I was looking for jobs in cleaning, retail and administration, in line with my skills and interests. In February 2020, Cliff, Madalina and myself went to do face to face employer engagement, where I was empowered to speak with employers myself.
In March 2020, I was shortlisted for a cleaner job working for a school. Madalina prepared me for the interview over the phone, at a short notice, by covering questions which are typically asked for such roles. I was advised to take notes throughout the session and Madalina sent me the appropriate interview guides so I could prepare myself. Madalina also referred me to SmartWorks so I could obtain suitable interview clothing. In spite of our efforts, the interview was postponed until further notice due to the lockdown measures implemented at the end of March. Madalina supported me throughout the lockdown by sending me wellbeing resources and directing me to jobs that were in high demand due to the pandemic, such as supermarket roles.
In June 2020, I finally attended my interview and I was offered the job. In spite of this, I was worried that starting work would impact my ESA benefits, which only allow me to work up to 16 hours and earn up to £140 per week. Madalina proceeded to contact Disability Employment Advisors to check if my benefits would be affected as this wasn’t clear to me. I had to obtain an answer quickly because I was offered the job on a Thursday with a start date for the following Monday. On Friday, after having contacted the DEAs, Madalina informed me that my benefits would not be affected, so I was relieved and happy to start work on Monday.
Madalina provided me with weekly In Work Support sessions, in which I talked about my concerns and challenges in the job. Madalina listened to what I had to say and re-assured me by also adopting a problem solving approach. She also encouraged me to ensure my wellbeing by exercising, eating well and meditating. Evidence-based and practical resources were sent to my e-mail so I could read them in my own time and implement these in my new routine. As a result of this, I have been in work for 6 months.