During 2023 we will continue our series featuring articles that focus on a ‘day in the life’ of people working in a variety of services and organisations across Ayrshire, whose dedication and efforts are key to reducing reoffending and improving outcomes for people in contact with the justice system and the wider community who are impacted by justice issues.
CEIS Ayrshire is focused on making Scotland a better place to live and work with a more inclusive economy. People furthest from the labour market may face one or more significant barriers to employment, these include but are not limited to: disability, mental health issues, low education attainment, homelessness, care leavers, carers, a criminal record, and low aspirations. Their mission is to tackle inequality, strengthen communities and improve the performance and impact of businesses, which contribute to our society.
Supporting individuals, communities, and businesses throughout Scotland. Delivering a range of services including employability, employer engagement, recruitment and retention services including workforce development services, community engagement and capacity building, skills and training services and community regeneration services. With offices and outreach facilities throughout Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, and Glasgow.
Lynne is a Key Worker for CEIS Ayrshire, and her role consists of engaging and supporting individuals age 16+ on the 1 to 5 stages of North Ayrshire Council’s employability pipeline. Individuals can self-refer or can be referred through their work coach at the job centre or adviser at Skills Development Scotland.
Prior to starting with CEIS Ayrshire in 2015, Lynne worked in Education with North Ayrshire Council for 10 years supporting school leavers to establish and gain a positive destination on leaving school. Having a background in employability helped her in this role, although she admits it was a bit of a shock to start working with a much bigger case load. The experience and knowledge she has gained over the last 8 years has been invaluable and in 2018 she gained a promotion to Team Leader which allows her to support the Key Workers as well as having her own case load.
A typical day
Every working day is different from the previous day. A typical day could involve meeting with new clients, completing the registration processes, and agreeing on action plans, or referring clients onto workshops and setting up agreed on-line courses.
I may be required to support clients with CV building, completing job applications, undertaking mock interviews, researching training opportunities, or referring on to specialist provision. I regularly discuss potential job vacancies with clients, identifying their transferable skills and adjusting an individual’s CV to suit the job specification.
I also allocate time to schedule appointments for clients to come in to receive one to one support to work through training courses or call existing clients to arrange catch-up appointments to agree their next steps.
We have regular meetings with the DWP and North Ayrshire Council to discuss potential new business as well as attending meetings such as the Locality Network Group. Each week we also hold an information session to inform potential new clients of the support we offer, as well as attending events such as Jobs Fair`s and Community Groups.
I usually check my diary before close of business for the next working day to make sure I have everything in place, and I send clients a text reminder of an appointment or to remind them if they have a workshop to attend.
“No two clients are the same and may present with different barriers to overcome but the overall sense of achievement for each is great”
I can’t leave the house without
Usually, my laptop as some days I`m working from home and my lunch and I never leave home in the morning without my coffee which helps to kickstart the day ahead.
Challenges affecting my work
It can be frustrating when you put a lot of effort into an individual and they disengage, and this can be for several reasons. As much as we try to make the processes smooth for an individual, some don’t follow through with the actions we have put in place. This can sometimes be a work in progress, and it may take an individual a few weeks or months to realise we are here to support them.
Since Covid we have changed some of our working practices and clients can undertake employability workshops online via Zoom and undertake on-line accredited training from the comforts of their own home. Feedback from our Skills and Training Team has been extremely positive. Clients enjoy the online workshops and can also request further training opportunities when completing the evaluation form provided after each workshop. We do, however offer face to face workshops and training for clients who are not familiar with IT.
“We work at a pace that is suitable for the client whilst taking careful consideration of their needs”
What I love about what I do
The best part of my job is when a client has managed to progress, although this does not necessarily have to be into employment, it may just be that they have overcome the smallest of barriers. Seeing a client achieving a pass in a course or managing to attend an online workshop or even the fact they have pushed themselves out of their comfort zone to engage in the first place can be a massive boost to a client, which for the individual, can be an immense sense of achievement. No two clients are the same and may present with different barriers to overcome but the overall sense of achievement for each is great.
If I could change anything
I would love to be able to express to any potential new clients that we are here to support and not to push them into something that they don’t want to do. Sometimes the fear of the unknown or the thought of progressing or moving back into work can be a scary and stressful time. We work at a pace that is suitable for the client whilst taking careful consideration of their needs.
“I would choose this career path again as the satisfaction of helping people makes my job worthwhile”
Would I choose this path again if I could?
To be completely honest, I started working in Education with North Ayrshire Council because it suited my life at the time. I was a single mum with two boys and being term time meant I didn’t need to look for childcare. Moving to CEIS Ayrshire when my boys were a bit older meant giving up all the school holidays but on the plus side it meant I could take my holidays whenever I wanted. So, yes, I would choose this career path again as the satisfaction of helping people makes my job worthwhile.
What would I say to someone considering this career path?
My advice would be that this type of job can come with its frustrations but can also be extremely rewarding. If you enjoy helping people to achieve their potential and have empathy, understanding and a genuine passion in supporting people, then this would be an ideal role for you.