“Being open to new sectors can help you develop skills you never knew you had.”

After several job rejections, Dwayne, from Tower Hamlets, was left feeling defeated. Like many others, he had become a victim of an extremely tough job market during a global pandemic. In his fifth month of unemployment, Dwayne was close to giving up but then he learnt about the government’s Kickstart Scheme* through his Jobcentre Plus Work Coach.

Kickstart provides funding to employers to create high quality six-month job placements for young people claiming Universal Credit. Launched last year, Kickstart supports jobseekers to develop new skills and move into sustained employment after they have completed funded job placements. During the scheme, Dwayne also attended workshops that helped him develop his transferable skills.

Upon completion, Dwayne was able to successfully secure a new role and for the past six months, he has been working as a Customer Support Specialist for a retail e-commerce business. His primary responsibilities include dealing with customer disputes, responding to live chats, and managing outbound calls. Dwayne has been enjoying his new role, which he says would not have been possible without his manager and Work Coach. “They’ve both been extremely helpful and responsive,” says Dwayne.

Whilst unemployed, Dwayne would sometimes feel overwhelmed, but his Work Coach helped him overcome his nerves through constant motivation. Dwayne also received tailored CV support and interview preparation, during which he learnt how to successfully showcase his skills and experience.

“I went through many confidence building exercises with my coach, which gave me the self-belief to put myself forward for more roles,” he shares. Dwayne also found his Work Coach to be far more effective than his university’s Career Support Advisor. “Since he had more knowledge about job seeking and what was expected from employers, I feel I was given the right advice on how to go about things,” says Dwayne. Importantly, his Work Coach provided guidance on how Dwayne can apply his skills to roles in new sectors, which helped him to secure his current job.

These include strong communication and organisational skills, which Dwayne applies daily in his new role. “Having a relaxed attitude also helps me to multi-task and complete tasks under pressure,” says Dwayne. He believes social awareness is crucial, and this is something he learnt whilst studying at university.

Dwayne credits his Work Coach for helping him to overcome the challenges he faced in a highly competitive job market. “It’s important to find something you’re passionate about,” he says. “Being open to new sectors can help you develop skills you never knew you had.”

If you’re looking for work, JobHelp is a good place to start. See which sectors are hiring, the type of jobs available and the skills you need to succeed in them. Visit the JobHelp website to get started.