Oliver Takes Flight with the Help of COMPASS

Oliver* attended his First Commitment meeting at the Jobcentre with his mum in August 2021. It was difficult to get information from Oliver; his reply to each question was “I don’t’ talk”. He was further encouraged to participate in the interview, but mum stepped in and replied on his behalf.

Oliver had recently partially completed an animal care course, but he had struggled both in school and college due to his ADHD and left school with no qualifications and no work experience.

It took a few attempts following the Commitment Meeting to engage with Oliver. He was unwell twice and on one occasion he overslept, however, the first meeting went better than anticipated with a few head nods from Oliver whilst mum continued to answer on his behalf. The breakthrough came when he finally felt that he could trust the Work Coach enough to converse in a conversation. Continually praising and complimenting Oliver, both on his appearance and his good manners, helped to achieve this.

Oliver was still some distance from applying for jobs and so he was referred to COMPASS Partner, Whitehead-Ross. Through the COMPASS project, funded by the European Social Fund, they met with Oliver in his own home and encouraged him to attend appointments, both with them and the Jobcentre, without mum in tow – this gave Oliver no option but to join in a conversation, which he managed really well. Whitehead-Ross also supported Oliver to create a CV.

Oliver was starting to make really good progress and during one of the appointments he was introduced to local Kickstart opportunities and identified that a national retail chain was advertising. Oliver seemed keen on the job role and agreed that he would like to apply; he was persuaded that it would be a great idea to attend the interview to gain some interview experience. The employer was visiting the office two days later! Whitehead-Ross helped prepare Oliver for the interview and met with him the following day to go through a few potential interview questions with him.

The Manager of the retail store was given an overview of the candidates that she would be interviewing. She was made aware that Oliver had never had an interview, that he was likely to attend in black jeans as he had not had enough time to purchase trousers and that he could potentially completely freeze and may not be able to talk at all. She took all this on board and was completely accepting of all the above.

Oliver impressed the employer at the interview, and it was agreed that they would give him an induction day the following week, which he agreed to attend.  Oliver was met by the Engagement Adviser at the induction day, he was introduced to the team and given the opportunity to experience the various departments.  He impressed the Store Manager both at the interview and induction day and was successfully offered the Kickstart placement; Oliver is now enjoying his new job.

This is great collaboration between the Jobcentre and provider Whitehead-Ross through the COMPASS project.

*The name has been changed to maintain confidentiality.