Two successful work placements completed from Blackpool Council's Ethical Recruitment Service and Chance2Shine programmes
1st. April 2019
Case Study 1 - April Hornby
Journey to Work: Laura Baines, Employment Adviser
April joined G4S Journey 2 Work in September 2018 and during her induction she explained that she'd left school at 16 and had her first child at 17. April then went to college and got her qualifications in nail services, ladies hairdressing and barbering but no longer wished to pursue a career in any of the subjects she became qualified in. April described feeling “a little lost” in terms of how and where to start job searching and felt that never having any work experience was putting her at a disadvantage when applying for jobs because she lacked any references. She also mentioned that the prospect of going through the recruitment process and applying for work was daunting, and that her confidence was quite low.
When making April's employment plan, in addition to helping her with basic tools, i.e. CV creation and Interview Skills, we discussed the possibility of doing a work placement through Blackpool Council's Chance2Shine scheme which I felt would have a multitude of benefits. April felt that it would be a great opportunity to try out different types of work she had never done before, as well as gaining work experience and references, so we made a referral to the Chance2Shine scheme.
Within a few weeks, April had been placed in her preferred sector, a retail placement with Sainsbury’s in St Anne’s where it became clear she was very well suited to both the type of work and the team she worked alongside. Every contact I had with April whilst she was on placement was overwhelmingly positive. It was clear that she was really enjoying it and that her confidence had grown tenfold. April expressed an interest at the very beginning of her placement in being considered for paid roles at Sainsbury’s, should they be available on culmination of the placement. The feedback I received from the Chance2Shine team was that sentiments of the Sainsbury’s management team mirrored April's, and I was over the moon for her when a job became available. April did herself and the Chance2Shine team proud during the placement, and she is now performing extremely well as a paid member of staff. I feel that the placement enabled April to overcome the barriers she felt were holding her back and she now has experience, references and the confidence to face the prospect of job searching in the future. Well done April and to all at Chance2Shine!
"I left school and college and started a family without ever having worked. I was on an upward struggle for any employer to invite me for an interview let alone offer me a job. The placement quickly improved my confidence and has opened my eyes to retail. There is far more involved in this sector than I ever thought and I discovered very quickly that this was the right work environment. Since starting, I have been involved with nearly all aspects of the job including restocking, reductions, disposals, ambient and dry and re-dress, and i'm about to start my till training.
It’s been a very fast turnaround of events after learning what was on offer through a Facebook ad for the Journey to Work Programme. I was surprised to learn that there was a whole host of things available to me and I knew Chance2Shine would be an avenue I would like to explore. I found the whole process quick and easy. Without it, I would not be in work now."
"I would have never imagined being offered a permanent contract after a short 4 week placement in what I can only describe as my ideal job. I love coming into work. It has improved my work and home life and I now have another purpose and one with a company that looks after their staff and I would like to continue my career with them."
Sainsbury’s, St Anne’s: Denny Bilen, Customer Trading & Manager
"We are in full support of Chance2Shine and about developing local untapped talent. Without which we would never have found April who we see as great future potential. It was evident very early on in her placement that she would make an ideal colleague within the store and we wanted to draw the placement to a close earlier so we could employ her. She has all the right people skills that suits how we operate and it was just a case of training her up across the store."
"From a management perspective we are impressed how Chance2Shine care, how they keep in close touch with managers and candidates and help to develop people to learn at how to be the best they can be. This ethos marries up with Sainsbury’s ‘Winning Teams’ which is a team where we enjoy what we do, and get all the training we need to be great at it too. It’s a team where everyone pitches in, for the good of our customers, whatever the day brings. Despite the amount of staff on various shifts we are like a close knit family and we all help each other. Our staff have enjoyed being part of April's journey as they have been integral to her development and ultimate success."
Chance2Shine: Aimi O’Donnell, Employer Engagement Manager
"Sainsbury’s is relatively new to Chance2Shine and they have embraced the ethos of what we aim to achieve with great success. I am impressed with the support from the whole Management team and colleagues alike and they have made our candidate's experience both knowledgeable and pleasurable."
"Sainsbury's has offered an opportunity to a local unemployed individual who would've had little success in both the application and interview process, and I am delighted that April was also offered a permanent contract following her 4 week placement. They have clearly been impressed with what they have seen and I have no doubt that she will continue to impress them with her growing confidence. Well done to everyone involved."
Case Study 2 - Connor Spooner
Journey to Work: Laura Baines, Employment Adviser
Connor was referred to G4S Journey 2 Work in April 2018 by Hayley Lewin, an employment and skills adviser at Wigan Council with whom Connor had been working with before he moved to Blackpool. Hayley explained that Connor needed assistance finding work as he has Autism, which affects his ability to interact with others and process information. Connor was signed up to the programme immediately and expressed an interest in working in retail. He tried this briefly in a job with B&M bargains and enjoyed it so, the idea of a Chance2Shine work placement was discussed. He was a little unsure at first, mainly due to a lack of confidence, but decided he would give it a try.
Connor was invited to an information session with the Chance2Shine team where he was given the opportunity to meet the employer (Marks and Spencer’s) and the placement organisers and make Connor feel more comfortable about giving it a go. Ahead of starting his placement, Connor took part in some training with the team which was tailored to his specific placement in Customer Service and Health and Safety. Connor's family were consulted at every stage of organising the placement, both to ensure that they could see the benefit to him and also to assist with practicalities such as helping Connor arrange transport to arrive to his placement on time.
When he started his placement at Marks and Spencer’s, Connor quickly proved himself to be a valuable member of staff and worked hard at every task he was given and received praise from his managers. He completed his placement after 4 weeks and his adviser updated his CV to reflect what he had accomplished. Unfortunately, even on successful culmination of his M&S placement, Connor was not offered paid work as the store had no recruitment needs at the time. However, Connor showed signs of improved confidence and had been getting himself to and from placement on public transport which was a real achievement.
Connor and his adviser spent the next few months job searching, focusing specifically on retail roles. In August 2018 some more opportunities in the retail sector became available and Connor and his family were notified and offered the opportunity to complete another placement, this time with a very real chance of paid work upon completion. He decided to take the opportunity. A similar process was followed to ensure Connor was prepped and assisted with starting his second placement and he again demonstrated his reliability and ability to follow instructions. Connor obtained an excellent reference for this placement and was offered paid work as a retail assistant for Sainsbury’s. He originally was offered a contract for the festive season, but has been kept on - no doubt due to his excellent performance.
Overall Connor has been an exemplary candidate and his success in obtaining paid work via the Chance2Shine team is testament to an effective
collaboration between Connor, his family, the employer(s!) and the C2S and Positive Steps teams. Connor is still working with Sainsbury’s and is enjoying it. We wish him ongoing success!
Sainsbury's Red Bank Road: Greg Abram, Customer Trading & Manager
Greg is the Customer Trading & Manager at Sainsbury's Red Bank Road store. He comments below on how all the management team and colleagues have been very happy with Connors progress since he was recruited in November 2019 following his 4 week work placement.
"Connor is a quiet focused worker who just gets on with the job at hand and has definitely come out of his shell since he started. He is increasingly getting involved with the staff banter, which is lovely to see. Chance2Shine has opened up the doors to those candidates who would struggle at interviews and has proven an invaluable tool in helping us identify hidden talent."
"We have been impressed with the communication between the Chance2Shine team and us. The care and attention shown by the Chance2Shine team is evident, which offers much reassurance. I highly recommend this programme to all employers."
"I am really grateful for what Chance2Shine have given me. They never gave up and believed in me. All the team were really helpful and approachable, and I enjoyed my meetings with them. Thanks again to you all."
Connor's Aunt, Kerry Spooner
"The Chance2Shine scheme provided Connor with a variety of opportunities. They persevered when things weren't going well and tried a variety of different avenues in order to build Connors confidence and this finally lead to paid work. Connor was unable to take a standard interview process because of his additional needs, therefore the offered work placements within the retail area, allowed managers to see what Connor was capable of on the shop floor. The work placements eventually paid off and we were over the moon to hear that he was offered a temporary post over the Christmas period. Connor worked really hard during this time and because they could see Connors work ethic first hand, this opportunity was extended and Connor now has regular part-time work. We are so proud of Connor and especially with the Chance2Shine team, they never gave up hope! A great scheme with lovely staff, big thanks to you all."
Chance2Shine: Aimi O’Donnell, Employer Engagement Manager
"An excellent outcome. This is a true example of where we can help candidates develop and prove their skills in a work place setting; opening up doors to employment that would otherwise be closed. Connor has given every placement his all and has reaped the rewards becoming another valued Sainsbury’s employee. Well done Connor, we wish you every success!"