Iain Forrest, our Talent Coach working for Stockport Homes, has provided an update on the progress being made by some of the young people he works with.
Iain acknowledges that the lack of face-to-face contact with young people has made things difficult since social distancing measures were introduced in March. He believes he hasn’t been as able to counteract the influence of negative peer groups, or prevent young people from making hasty decisions like walking out on part-time job.
Notwithstanding, the two examples below show how Iain has still been a vital source of support.
When Iain met him, AL hadn’t worked before and had no clear idea of what he could, or would want to do. He had poor confidence and communication skills. He found group work intimidating and didn’t want to meet people face to face. His only hobby was playing on his Xbox.
Through the many career guidance sessions he spent building their relationship, Iain discovered that AL had really enjoyed woodwork in the past. This led on to Iain arranging a meeting with B4box, a Stockport-based social value venture operating in the construction and building maintenance sectors, with a specialism in employing and training people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Iain attended the meeting with AL and helped him apply for a construction and skills short course. AL was anxious about being in a room with up to eight other people, but with Iain’s support he completed the course, went on to do a longer course and was subsequently taken on as an apprentice with B4Box.
Iain’s support has continued since AL started work. He has helped AL and B4Box resolve a misunderstanding that had led to AL not turning up to work. Furthermore, Iain has negotiated a phased return for AL who has been furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
“AL has had a tough time since being furloughed. B4Box have been great – they topped up the 20%, so he’s been on full pay. He just had a dip because work had been providing him with social contact. We met up and went for a walk around his local park, sticking to social distancing measures. It was a really positive time, and we discussed everything from family, wellbeing, confidence and ways of making the return to work easier.”
“AL will soon get back in his stride when he gets back to work. A big part of improving his confidence has involved highlighting his strengths and the positives in his life. With positive reinforcement it’s amazing how quickly a lot of young people gain confidence. I’ve had chats with B4Box about this and they’ve been great at relaying praise to AL.”
SC’s Mum had recently been admitted to a rehab clinic. SC was living at home with his younger brother (14) and older sister (21). The only income was SC’s sister’s part-time wage and they were at serious risk of losing their house, which is mortgaged.
At first SC didn’t divulge any of this information but after meeting Iain on three or four occasions he explained the issues he was having. Iain directed SC towards housing support to look in to housing situation (which has since been resolved), and helped SC begin claiming Universal Credit. Iain’s notes on SC’s Universal Credit account helped to negotiate new work searching conditionality terms. These reflected the amount of time SC could spend job searching at the same time as caring for his younger brother.
Before Covid-19, SC had undertaken administration work experience at Stockport Homes’ offices. Iain had arranged this.
“You could see his SC realising that he could do certain tasks and that administrative roles were what he should be applying for in the long run,” said Iain.
“With social distancing measures in place, we’ve made arrangements for SC to come back into the office in the coming weeks. It will keep that forward momentum going for him.”