Step into Work moved to remote working from the 20th March following the national lockdown imposed by the Government. While our buildings have been closed clients have been able to benefit from one to one support remotely. Prior to lockdown we offered IAG to clients to find Employment Training or Education by face to face interactions. We have more or less changed our approach from a face to face service to phone call, text message, emails etc to support our clients.
One of the main challenges has been moving from face to face support to remote support. The project is aimed at tailored one to one support for each client. A prime example of this has been that some clients require us to support them in filling out application forms or searching and applying for suitable employment. We have managed to overcome and adapt to this by carrying out a job search together over the phone, where the advisor has talked the client through the process, this has helped not only to identify employment but to give the client some ownership of their employment journey.
We’ve had to adapt as careers advisors and offer a lot more welfare support to our clients. Clients have felt discourage by the impact of Covid-19 and felt they would never get a job and face a lengthy time on benefits. We have managed to support clients to remain motivate and confident. This has been difficult as each client is different and have their own emotions. We are now starting to come out of the lockdown and our caseloads remain active following the successful welfare interactions and clients remain motivated to seek employment or move into education/training.
We have managed to continue to complete new referrals by carry out initial assessments over the phone, which has led to the successful enrolment onto the programme for the client. Not ideal but this has given any new client seeking support the chance to do so, by carrying out this referral method.
We have had clients move into work during this difficult time in roles with Marks and Spencer, Costco, and DHL to name a few. This has given young people on the project hope, as they were already facing an uncertain time due the impact of Covid-19. We have used other existing clients experience to new clients to show them that you can still secure employment.
The work we carry out as advisors is more important now than ever as young people face redundancies and job losses and moving to Universal Credit. Overall, the lockdown has given us a chance to look at the way we work as advisors and how we can support our clients more effectively when we return to the new normal and support them to achieve their individual goals.