Zoe’s journey to employment
In the last decade, the unemployment rate in Cornwall has dropped by 50%. Recent figures show the unemployment rate for Cornwall stands at 3.9%, lower than the national average of 5.1%, and the unemployment rate of 18-24 year olds has dropped by 65%. However, there are still a number of people who find it difficult to find employment. Prospects, the employment, education and skills company, provides the governments Work Programme in Cornwall and supports individuals in finding work by helping them develop interview techniques, updating CVs, helping to build confidence as well as helping to find employers.
22 year old Zoe had been unemployed for three years after her leaving her job as a trainee hairdresser. Because of anxiety, Zoe found it difficult working in groups and going out on her own. Like many people, Zoe became anxious in social situations. To help Zoe get back into the workforce she was put in touch with Prospects key worker, Steve. Steve helps jobseekers offering advice and practical support on employment and skills.
Initially Zoe and Steve talked by telephone as she found if too difficult to go into the Prospects centre. This continued until Zoe felt comfortable and confident enough to speak to him in person. For the first few months Zoe brought a family member to her meetings. Step by step Steve worked with Zoe, giving her action points to follow to build her confidence until she was able to attend on her own.
Zoe’s confidence grew, she started volunteering with Prospects as part of the Skills Enhancement Project, helping other jobseekers. Zoe also began taking part in groups run by the Work Programme to help employability skills.
Zoe has now signed off and is no longer claiming benefits. She is working part time for a cleaning company. In addition, following one workshop Zoe was offered a role working for Cornwall College in learning support, helping people with English as their second language.
Zoe says: “I believe in myself so much more, it’s given me a real purpose! I wouldn’t be where I am without Steve and Prospects.”