Key worker case study: Alex

Alex, a Project Worker at Justlife, refers her service users to the Ready for Work programme in Manchester because “it works.”

Justlife is a charity and CIC based in a deprived area of East Manchester. It offers an access point for local people who do not connect with other services – at Justlife they can find a wide variety of support in one place.

Ready for Work is another string to our bow in terms of what we can offer to our service users, which provides proven, successful outcomes.

- Alex

The charity holds a job club to support clients who want help and advice to find work. But for most clients, just sending in applications for jobs didn't reap any benefits.

Whatever a client’s stumbling block - an extensive criminal record, or lack of confidence - once they have been coming to Justlife’s job club for a while, Alex will discuss the opportunity available through Ready for Work.

So far a number of the people that Alex has referred have gained work as a direct result of the programme, including James*, who was extremely nervous, quiet and fearful before attending the Ready for Work training and work placement. “His attitude and confidence have completely transformed. From saying ‘I’m so thick, no-one wants me’, he is so excited to have the prospect of employment. He’s really grateful and can see the change in himself,” says Alex.

Alex knows that jobs aren’t guaranteed through the programme.  But the opportunities for her service users to move on and build skills keep her referring them to Ready for Work: “It’s an incredibly positive programme. It removes both perceived and practical barriers to work… It improves people’s confidence and attitude.”

Ready for Work has even changed her own attitude to business and she now plans to speak with local businesses about Justlife in order to build relationships with companies in the surrounding area.

Alex would encourage other agencies to contact Business in the Community about the Ready for Work programme: “It was very simple to set up the relationship and the referral process is easy”.

And it has also given her the chance to work together with local agencies, which she has really valued. Relationships that have been built between BITC, JCP, Justlife and the Salvation Army mean that the best outcomes are achieved for all their clients.

*Name has been changed.