Nathan Keefe

Name of Delivery Partner: Gingerbread
Name of Participant: Nathan Keefe

Referral details

Details about how the participant found out about the programme
Referral via Job Centre in Nelson.

The journey so far

Details about the participant’s journey before going onto the programme.

Nathan had worked in customer service roles in the past, e.g. customer service manager at William Hill. Nathan is a single parent with full time care of his two children aged 11 and 4, he also helps to support his mother who is undergoing chemotherapy. Nathan was determined to find work once his youngest child started school which happened in September 2017, so after asking at the Job Centre about jobs and courses he was referred to the Gingerbread M&S programme which was being funded under the Access to Employment scheme.

Nature of support provided:

Details about the programme and the nature of support that has been provided.

The Gingerbread M&S programme is a well established programme that has been running in partnership with Gingerbread and M&S since 2004; it has run in London and the South, Manchester, Leeds and now Lancashire. The programme consists of pre-employment training and support which is delivered in both group and one to one coaching sessions, followed by a two week work placement in an M&S store. Participants work through a custom workbook to cover a range of subjects around the world of work and what it means to them. Participants are supported on a one to one basis with starting to juggle work and family commitments; this can be a daunting prospect for a single parent, especially if they do not have any family support. Various issues arise including anxiety around childcare, travel, being in a work environment and more practical considerations such as having the appropriate ID and an up-to-date CV. Nathan had worked as a customer service manager in the past so was no stranger to the world of work, however he had been out of work a long time and needed help to get back into a work environment and update his skills. Nathan attended individual coaching sessions, group training sessions, and a two week work placement at M&S. Nathan worked so well on his placement that he received a letter of commendation from a customer at the store. He was offered a vacancy of 20hrs which was planned to start right after the end of his placement, however when Nathan turned up to discuss the vacancy he was offered a full-time position in the warehouse instead!

How has the participant benefited from being involved

Nathan has gained full-time work due to the programme. He has found that he enjoys this type of work more than his previous customer service jobs.

Skills learned

Are they doing something they always wanted to or has the participant had their eyes opened to new areas?

Nathan’s previous work experience is in customer service; he has been a customer service manager for William Hill. Now that he is working in the warehouse at M&S he has found that he enjoys this type of work even more, and he says that his health is improving with all the exercise.

Future plans

What would they like to achieve in the future? Are they planning to undertake further training?

Nathan would like to retain his full-time contract at M&S.

Barriers overcome

What barriers has the participant overcome either to get on the programme or during the programme?

Nathan is lucky to have family support with childcare; his sister lives nearby and he is close to other family members. Nathan had been out of work for quite a long time looking after his children so had fallen out of the work ‘habit’ and was keen to get back to it as soon as his youngest child started school.

Personal statement

Personal statement about the participant’s experience on the programme, what benefits it has given to them and how they feel more able to move on or access training.

“The course is brilliant; it’s helped me get a job and changed my life. More people should know about it.”