Patrick was first referred to the Wise Steps programme at Ten North East by his Job Centre Plus adviser in January 2020 as he had been unemployed for 2 years.
After an in-depth discussion with his Coach Catriona, Patrick decided his main aims were to build his confidence, develop his digital skills and to gain employment.
Patrick was referred to Suha, a specialist Digital Inclusion Coach with Wise Steps, in order to develop his IT skills. Suha and Patrick started regular sessions develop Patrick’s confidence in using digital devices, developing his digital skills for life as well as his employment search.
Shortly after starting his digital inclusion sessions the UK was locked down due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. The Pandemic highlighted the importance of digital inclusion to many people, including Patrick in terms of staying connected with family and friends, and not just for looking for work. Patrick was offered remote digital inclusion sessions and tried to continue with them, but due to the lack of suitable digital device and his knowledge level this was difficult. Patrick felt that he would only benefit when face to face provision could start again, so he and Catriona agreed to place his sessions on hold.
During the pandemic Patrick received wellbeing calls from his adviser Catriona making sure he was ok and establishing whether he needed any support during these very challenging times. Through these wellbeing calls it was apparent that Patrick was struggling financially to buy food. At first Patrick was a little anxious about asking for this type of support. However, after talking through with his Catriona he was reassured that it was ok to ask for help if he needed it. Catriona arranged with a local foodbank for Patrick to collect a parcel.
As well as providing wellbeing support, Catriona continued to support Patrick with finding employment throughout the pandemic. Catriona assisted Patrick to develop a new CV, and guided him with uploading it to his online job search accounts. They discussed jobs he may be interested in, Catriona would source relevant vacancies and send them to Patrick to look through, providing support with applications, be it uploading his CV to a job search account, assistance with completing an application form or applying directly with a CV printed and posted out to Patrick from Ten.
As Patrick was struggling to apply for jobs using his phone, Catriona submitted an application for a tablet for Patrick to Toby at Leonard Cheshire through the Wise Steps Programme. His application was successful and with his new tablet he was able to develop and practice what he was learning from his digital inclusion coaches Toby and Suha, as restrictions had by now been lifted and he was able to resume face to face sessions.
Throughout the programme Patrick received travel expenses to attend his Wise Steps and digital inclusion appointments, without this financial support he would not have been able to participate in the programme. He was also referred to Green Doctor South Tyneside for an Energy Fuel Voucher by Catriona, which assisted Patrick to pay his energy bills.
Patrick’s confidence grew, from both the exceptional support he received from Suha and Toby, and the employment and wellbeing support he received from Catriona, and in July 2021 Patrick was successful in gaining employment at Kasai in Washington as an Assembly Operative.
Through the programme Patrick received in-work support to help with travel expenses until he received his first wage, without this he would not have been able to accept the job.