The Lancaster Guardian’s We Want to Work campaign has entered its second week.
We have teamed up with Action for Employment (A4e) in Lancaster, which is contracted to deliver the Government’s Work Programme for people who have found themselves in long-term unemployment in North Lancashire.
We meet three more job hunters from the district today and speak to one of A4e’s business leaders about the help the Quarry Road centre offers.
Local business manager Louise Johnson also offers up some handy tips for anyone who is looking for work at the moment.
They are working with around 1,000 people in the Lancaster and Morecambe area who have been referred from JobCentre Plus.
We will also tell you how businesses can get involved by offering work to our job hunters and the incentives on offer if you do so.
With your help, the six people we aim to find work for are:
*Ethan West, aged 19, a former apprentice mechanic from Lancaster
*Matthew Stinson, 22, from Low Bentham, previously an electrician’s mate
*Heather Mayne, 26, from Lancaster, ex-sales assistant
*Paul Hammond, 21, from Morecambe, a shop volunteer
*Glen Carmichael, 38, of Lancaster, who is looking for retail work
*Adam Knowles, 24, from Lancaster, an aspiring youth worker and ex-soldier
Last week, we met Ethan, Matthew and Heather.
Today, we focus on Paul, Glen and Adam, hear their stories, their hopes and find out what skills they can offer employers across the district.
Name: Paul Hammond
Paul has been without a job for 15 months and is determined to find one that unleashes his creative talents.
Now working with A4e for seven months, giving his time free to help in charity shops has helped boost his confidence and learn new skills.
Cancer Research and the RSPCA are two charities Paul has volunteered for.
He said: “I am quite a nervous person but I have felt more confident in the last few years. I’m quite creative. When I’m not volunteering, I’m training for a 170-mile coast-to-coast cycle ride in memory of my friend Alan. He helped me through a difficult time.”
Paul said he was keen to secure employment of any kind and his long-term goal is to forge a career as a games and apps designer.
He studied a course in game development at Lancaster and Morecambe College.
Describing his attributes to potential employers, Paul said: “I’m creative, hard-working and open-minded. I think there’s always one way to finish a job, but some people often don’t see the second way.
“I like interacting with customers. I get a lot of satisfaction from helping them.”
Name: Glen Carmichael
Glen’s disability has done nothing to dent his motivation to work and his hunger to learn new skills.
Despite being forced to give up a job as a kitchen assistant at Pizza Margherita, Lancaster, in his late teens after being diagnosed with epilepsy, he maintains a refreshingly positive attitude.
Since his diagnosis, he has undertaken a string of volunteering roles at the Salvation Army and his local church – all while successfully completing maths courses at the Adult College.
He excelled so much, tutors asked him to help his fellow students.
Glen explained: “I volunteer at church and do absolutely all sorts – helping people who have needs, sorting out clothes and house cleaning.
“If I was staying at home I would be driving myself to boredom.”
Finding a retail job where he could work with the public is a top goal for Glen – and he wants employers to look beyond his condition and focus on the hard worker he said he could be.
Glen explained: “I could work full time in a supermarket or sports shop. I love working with customers and meeting people.
“I really want to work. I want people to see me not as someone who is disabled and has epilepsy, but someone who is able to do a job and that would make me happy.”
Name: Adam Knowles
Adam briefly served his country in the army but for the last two years has found himself without work.
He said he has used this spare time “trying to find out about what I want to be” and now hopes to make it as a youth worker.
Shaped by his own childhood, the father-to-be aspires to help today’s young people, whom he feels struggle to express their feelings.
Adam said: “I want to help people in every sense. I want to help the youth of today. They are all being judged on their personality.
“I want to help people get on with their lives and be the best that they can and be a role model.”
Adam said his motivation was driven by his past experiences in foster care and getting into trouble himself.
He continued: “I was in care and everything was done for me by social services, instead of them teaching me how to do it myself.
“Children nowadays feel like they can’t talk to anybody. I have been through it first hand and I feel that I have the gift to help.”
Adam has been woring with the A4e team for around 18 months and is grateful for the support he has received.
He added: “They have been brilliant over the last couple of months.”
A4e’s local business leader Louise Johnson hopes the We Want to Work campaign will demonstrate that people who have been out of work for a long period of time still have valuable skills to offer.
And she said the training and support provided on the company’s Work Programme gave them even more skills.
The team has already found work for one person on the M6 link road project, thanks to opportunities offered for job hunters to prepare for their CSCS construction skills card.
Louise said: “I hope the campaign will help people perceive our customers in the way everybody else is.
“There’s sometimes a bit of a stigma when you’re on a work programme. They are a great bunch of people we work with and their skills can really benefit employers.”
A4e said one of the biggest frustrations experienced by Lancaster jobseekers is not hearing back from the employer once they’ve sent off a job application.
Here, Louise looks at why this can happen and gives her top ten job-hunting tips to help job-seekers get the attention of local employers.
1. Search, search and search some more. You can never do too much! Internet, newspapers, face-to-face, telephone and family and friends. The more people you get the word out to that you’re looking for a job, the more potential jobs you’ll hear about. Finding a job, is a job.
2. Use websites like Google Maps and Yell.com to locate businesses in your local area.
3. Use as many alternative job search engines as possible .
4. For every application you make for a job that’s advertised, make three speculative applications, either by post, email, telephone or in person. A large percentage of the job market is ‘hidden’.
5. Make sure your CV and cover letter are tailored for every job you apply for.
6. Keep your CV to less than three pages and use bullet points, not long paragraphs.
7. Contact the employer two days after sending an application to confirm that they have received it.
8. If you have been waiting more than 10 days for a response following an interview, call the employer and ask for some feedback which will help you to develop your skills and technique for next time.
9. Use social media. If used in the right way, this can be a very effective way of spreading the word and selling yourself to potential employers – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and BranchOut to name a few.
10. Stay positive. It’s easy to end up feeling frustrated if your efforts don’t pay off immediately, but never let these negative feelings derail you from your goals.
* Could you offer a job, be it short-term, long-term or temporary? Employers who take on someone aged 18 to 24 full time for at least 26 weeks can get cash rewards thanks to a scheme called Youth Wage.
If you’ve been impressed with their skills, experience or what they have had to say and feel you have a suitable position, contact the Lancaster Guardian on 01524-834008 or A4e on 01524-385720.