James came to GRoW at the start of 2021 looking for a new career that would fit around his family life. James has undergone training through GRoW, completed an IEP Accredited Sector Induction Level 2 and has just begun a new job as an Employment Adviser with Shaw Trust.
James said “I can’t speak highly enough of GRoW and how brilliant they have been, not only helping me in my job search but also with getting training and improving my mental wellbeing – they have changed my life.
My background had been in food retail but at the start of the pandemic there was a big change in my family circumstances and I became a single parent. As a full time store manager my business hours were very unsociable – sometimes I would start at 5.00am and other days my shift didn’t finish until 11.00pm and I would often work weekends. I couldn’t get childcare to fit with my shifts and despite trying to reduce my hours and making other adjustments it just wasn’t working; I wasn’t doing a good job as a parent or an employee and something had to change. I had to leave my job and for the first time ever I was out of work and claiming Universal Credit. I was referred to GRoW from Jobcentre Plus and Liz Sewell started working with me as my Adviser.
Although my career has been successful I didn’t have much experience of job searching or interviews. I had always been promoted within the companies I had worked for in the past so I was already known to the employer and didn’t have to rely on a CV to promote myself.
Liz suggested I undertake some training courses and worked with me to find out what sort of job I would be interested in doing and what might fit with my family life. When it became clear that I had a real interest in working in the employability sector Liz put me forward to do the IEP Accredited Sector Induction Level 2. I was part of the IEP Tutor group that Liz ran on Tuesday mornings to offer help and guidance on the course and we spoke about job opportunities in the sector.
Whilst doing the IEP course I also attended the GRoW Your Confidence programme and the Interview and CV Workshops with Sonia. Having a professional’s viewpoint was hugely beneficial. Sonia showed me how I could potentially come across to an employer during an interview and gave me tips on things I needed to work on such as my habit of fidgeting! In her CV Workshop Sonia told me I was ready for work but said my cv would likely hold me back when making applications. She worked with me to make it better and I started looking for suitable jobs. Liz made me aware of some positions in the employability that were becoming available and when I found a job I was interested in and applied for it I was accepted for an interview straight away. Without Sonia’s courses I’m sure I would still be looking for a job now.
I applied for three jobs in total and was offered two of them. Originally I had been looking for a part-time position but with the information and advice GRoW gave me around my childcare options it became clear that I would be able to use the services of a childminder and take on a full time position. In my new job as an Employment Adviser I am able to work remotely from home and as I finish at 5.00pm I get lots of family time now. I started the job this week and my children really like going to their childminder as they are able to spend time with other children their age after school, doing fun things like going to the park.
When I first started looking for a new job I hadn’t dreamt that I would be able to work remotely and combine my job with my family life, it has made such a difference to my life.”