This week’s guest blog comes from Richard Thorniley-Walker, Training Coordinator at Cyrenians.
I’ve been a Training Coordinator for Cyrenians for over three years now and have delivered training courses to over 200 people who are looking for work. Trainees come from all walks of life, we have had young people looking to start work for the first time, single mums looking to get back to work, asylum seekers trying to get their first job in a new country, people looking for a change in career or those who have been out of work for a long time while caring for a family member or recovering from illness.
There’s a common misconception that people on jobseeker’s allowance are lazy, that they’re too comfortable on their benefits and don’t know what it’s like to work for a living but my experience in this field couldn’t be more different. There are so many reasons why people aren’t in work and it’s rarely due to people not wanting to work. There are often barriers that, without help, can be almost insurmountable. These include: digital exclusion – being unable to access or use computers; no access to childcare; no support for their anxiety/depression; or just the lack of knowledge about where to find and apply for jobs. With a little bit of help we can address these issues and help people find work.
I don’t have strict criteria for who is suitable for our courses, it doesn’t matter to me what qualifications someone has or how long they’ve been out of work. The main thing that I’m looking for is that they want to work.
The way I see it, a lack of qualifications or big gaps in your CV are all things from your past. Making the decision to make a difference to your life and look for work isn’t about your past, it’s about your future and I’m a firm believer that we are all the architects of our own futures.
I tell everyone who comes on one of my courses that I can’t get them a job, in fact no-one can get them a job but themselves. I’ll certainly try to help and hopefully enable them to get the knowledge and confidence they need to send off an application form or to succeed in an interview but at the end of the day it’s always down to the individual.
The reason that I do my job is I truly believe that worthwhile employment can make a huge difference to someone’s wellbeing. Being able to stand on one’s own two feet and get out of the jobcentre can be so empowering. The main sectors that we work in with jobseekers are social care and construction and I like the thought that people can be walking around town thinking ‘I made a real difference in work today’.
26th October 2017