I’m Lizzie, 25, and I work as an Employment Consultant for Kennedy Scott. My job’s purpose is to help disadvantaged and long term unemployed people in the community back into sustainable employment.
This is of course of huge importance to the economy, but it’s a less acknowledged fact that helping people back into employment changes lives. It improves people’s self esteem, increases their independence, and improves their happiness and the happiness of those around them. How does it make me feel? Fantastic!
Don’t get me wrong, it’s tough. There are days when the individuals we try to help can convince you it’s not worth it. They have barriers to work for a variety of reasons and some days they just won’t accept support. But then there are the real highlights! For example, I work with one lady who has next to no self esteem, and is so incredibly shy that some days she struggles to speak at all. For six months she told me she believed she was worthless. Then just the other day she walked into the centre and smiled when she sat down – it was the first time I had ever seen her smile and I welled up.
Getting people into work is important because it goes further than just earning your way. Workers gain independence which allows them to detach themselves from toxic situations, like abusive relationships, substance dependency, and environments which contribute to depression and anxiety.
I have a background in adult education but this has to be the most valuable job I have ever done. To do the job you need to be driven, focussed– organisation is key! –and compassionate. You also need a thick skin. The representation in the media of jobseekers is unfair and incomplete – so often the lifestyles are framed to make them look like scroungers and benefit cheats, but in my experience these cases are the minority. The job centre and companies like the one I work for are portrayed as the enemy. This couldn’t be further from the truth: you only need to be around our clients for a day and you will see how these are individuals in need of a listening ear, an environment in which they can breathe without being judged, and a chance to better themselves – just like anyone else.