In his own words, Jack explains his experiences being supported by Positive Directions. Take it away, Jack!

"My name is Jack. I’m 23 years old. I live in Halton and I’m currently employed by Tesco.

Back in March 2018 I was sent across to see Sue by Widnes Jobcentre. I wasn’t really sure what this was about other than it was supposed to help get me a job. I think everyone has been on these things before, so I wasn’t expecting much. Sue started by introducing herself and explained that she worked on a programme called Positive Directions.

I was glad to hear that someone was here to help me but if I’m honest I’m not sure I thought it was for me. I explained to Sue that I had a lot of issues I thought I needed to deal with. I was a bit shocked when she told me that Positive Directions was there to provide support for people like me. She told me that the programme had been funded by DWP (the jobcentre to me!) and ESF and was designed to help me work on these problems and gradually get myself where I wanted to be.

We started by talking about my health. I explained that I had experienced social anxiety in the past. Sue suggested a referral to a counselling service she was linked in with. I explained that I couldn’t at the moment as I was on probation and had appointments with them. I was a bit surprised at her reaction to this. I was expecting to be told either I did what she’d said or just forget it. Instead she told me she understood that they were important appointments to attend and that we could work on other issues.

Sue explained that she was here to help work with other people rather than be in competition with them.  I told her that I had childcare responsibilities for my three children so we worked on a plan together to plan my appointments around this. We started to not just look at and apply for jobs but to work on other issues. I explained I had a number of debt issues. Sue helped put me in touch with CAB to make a start on tackling these issues. She worked with me to contact my housing provider, figure out what I owed and to who and helped me work towards a debt relief order.

Doing these things and clearing these issues meant I could focus more on applying for jobs. Sue helped me with my applications and helped me get ready for an interview. Sue also worked closely with my work coach at the job centre.  I explained that I would be waiting awhile to get paid and would have no access to a phone. I was really pleased when my work coach arranged for a top up to be added to my phone so I could contact people when I needed to.

The Positive Directions programme have helped me move forwards. I’m now in work but I understand I can still contact her and the team to help me with any problems I might have in work. I’m doing well and looking forward to my first pay day to treat myself and my family."

Positive Directions is a program that works with unemployed people across Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral and Halton, delivering 1-2-1 support that gives them the skills they need to get into work.

If you would like one of your clients to move forward like this, then you can call Positive Direction's Halton Key Worker Sue Brewin on 07710 919 605