Tina Johnson, a lone parent in her 40s from Sheffield, did not believe she would ever find work again, having been unemployed for over 20 years.

When she joined the Work Programme, with Phoenix Enterprises, one of Serco’s welfare-to-work providers, the mother of two (aged 7 and 20), was concerned that her long-term unemployment, lack of work experience and low morale, as well as childcare commitments would prevent her from finding any work.

With Tina, confidence building was key so she was offered plenty of encouragement and support. Phoenix also worked with her on interview skills and refreshed her CV, demonstrating that she had plenty of transferable skills she could use from her last job as a nursery nurse. They then put her forward for a work trial with B &Q.

B&Q ideally wanted someone with flexibility, but when they met Tina they decided to give her a chance and work around her childcare commitments. The employer was really pleased with Tina and offered her a permanent Customer Service and Sales Assistant role. 

Tina was ecstatic to secure a job after more than two decades of unemployment. She said: “When I received my first wage I was SO proud… I thought: ‘I’ve earned that!’