Dame Rosie helps celebrate local job success
Reed in Partnership’s Better Working Future service celebrated helping its three hundredth Doncaster resident into work.
Luke Hollingsworth, the three hundredth person to secure a job using the service, recently began his role at Burger King after a period of unemployment due to a heart condition. Dame Rosie Winterton, who was re-elected as the local MP last week, joined the celebrations at the Reed in Partnership office, helping place a celebratory three hundredth leaf on a tree display that marks the achievements of all those who have overcome issues preventing them from finding work.
The Better Working Futures service primarily supports people with health conditions and disabilities to find work. Since its launch in 2017 participants using the service have been supported into a wide range of different roles with employers across the town.
Luke, 28, first accessed the service eighteen months ago. He was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome in his early 20s. The condition affects the rhythm of his heart and was first noticed when unexpectedly Luke collapsed while out with friends at a car show. He was fitted with a pacemaker and his diagnosis had a significant impact on his life, preventing him from playing sports and being as active as he used to be.
Luke remembers: “I had been out of work, was living in shared accommodation with six other people. I was out one day - the next minute I woke up in hospital after my collapse. It took a while to find out what was wrong. The condition puts me at risk of heart attacks and stroke so I have to take it a little easy. My pacemaker keeps me monitored and things going okay.
Before I was referred here by the Jobcentre I was dreading it. But my Employment Advisers here were really good. I did lots of training with Andrew who works here - on interview practice and my confidence. They taught me to do job searching properly. I don’t fear things because these guys taught me not to. They’ve always been here for me the last year and a half.
“They put me forward for a role at B&Ms and didn’t get it. The guys here taught me to not see the negatives and find a way to see the positives. A job came up at Burger King and I was successful this time.
“Now I live with my girlfriend and young son. I’ve got my own space and a happier life. Things have really changed for the better.
“The guys at Reed in Partnership will go to the end of the world and back to help you. My job is now making people smile and I love it. ”
Luke’s Employment Adviser Anna, said: “We worked a lot with Luke on his interview skills to give him the confidence to succeed. He took some of our internal training to improve his skills and better prepare him for job interviews. I was so happy for him when he got the good news from Burger King. We made sure they were aware of his condition and have helped them understand how they can support Luke if he is having any problems with his heart.”
Over at work, Luke’s manager Craig is pleased to have him on the team: “He’s always happy and in a good mood. He works hard and he tries hard. I’ve had three people come through Reed in Partnership’s service. They’re providing an important service for the community and it’s great that we’ve able to offer people looking for work an opportunity.”
Dame Rosie also spoke with other local residents using the service and dropped in on a chair-based exercise class run by local trainer Jamie Cooley. Jamie himself had used Better Working Futures to start his own self-run fitness business. He now regularly returns to the Reed in Partnership office to provide low impact exercise classes to help other users of the service stay fit.
Dame Rosie said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to Reed in Partnership to join in with their celebrations for the 300th Doncaster resident who they have helped into work. It was also great to meet with Luke and to hear about how his life has changed with the support he has received from the Better Working Futures service. I wish him and the rest of the participants the very best in their future careers.”
Better Working Futures is Reed in Partnership’s name for the Work and Health Programme in the North East, which is funded by the Department for Work and Pensions and European Social Fund. For more information visit betterworkingfutures.co.uk.