Seaton woman’s ‘pretty bleak’ Covid lockdown job hunt ends in success thanks to new employment project

A Seaton woman has benefited from a government-backed project to help the unemployed back to work amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eleanor Gait, aged 23, a recent university graduate, said she was left ‘demoted and intimidated’ after finding job searches ‘pretty bleak’ when the pandemic hit the UK.

Eleanor found a job thanks to a new programme provided by employability specialist Seetec Pluss.

The support Eleanor received was provided under the new government-funded JETS programme – Job Entry Targeted Support – designed to help people struggling to find work due to Covid-19.

The programme, launched in October 2020, has already supported more than 700 people into employment from across Devon.

Eleanor, who spent lockdown with her family in Seaton, said work opportunities had been ‘scarce’.

Before the pandemic, she had taken seasonal hospitality work to raise funds to continue her studies for a Master’s degree.

The JETS programme helped Eleanor secure a working-from-home role as a Home Office administrative officer in the Biometric Immigration Document Management Unit.

Eleanor said: “This is a role that really links to my degree in International Development, and the type of job I saw myself in post-graduation.

“I am excited that it will allow me to develop the skills to advance my career.”

She added: “Being out of work felt demotivating and intimidating and the figures for graduate employment meant my job searches felt pretty bleak.

“My advisor offered me CV and cover letter workshops and helped to develop my confidence.

“When I secured a civil service interview, she advised me how to prepare for that type of interview.”

Eleanor’s new job, which she started this month, involves communicating with people outside of the UK who have applied for biometric residence permits which need to be collected upon arrival.

She said: “I was living at home with my mum and looking for a job that best matched what I had learnt during my degree course. But I wasn’t in a dire situation, so I felt others were more deserving of support.

“My employment advisor was brilliant. Every bit of guidance helped me make a bit more progress.

“Seetec Pluss were really taking on board what I was saying and helping me to search for roles that matched my aspirations.

“Their support was tailored to me and my advisor pushed me to apply for roles even if I felt I was slightly underqualified for them.”

The support Eleanor received was provided under the new government-funded JETS programme – Job Entry Targeted Support – designed to help people struggling to find work due to Covid-19.

Chris Harrison, Seetec Pluss Executive Director, said The JETS programme provides jobseekers with a ‘lifeline of support’ to help rebuild confidence and self-belief, while getting back into long-term work.

He said the project was ‘committed’ to ensuring that nobody was left behind because of the pandemic.

Mr Harrison said people of all backgrounds and abilities deserved an equal chance to achieve their work ambitions.

He said: “Working closely with each person, our employability coaches offer one-on-one intensive, personalised support to help people identify their transferrable skills, write a CV, get through the difficult days and feel confident about the talents they have to offer an employer.

“Due to Covid, the jobs market is challenging at the moment, but the opportunities are still out there, we are working hard to support individuals and communities to succeed during these challenging times.

“It is encouraging that forty per cent of the people who started the programme in October have now found employment.”

Mims Davies MP, Minister for Employment, acknowledged the pandemic had had been a ‘challenging time’ for jobseekers.

She said the new scheme would help boost employment levels across the country.

Mims Davies said: “I’m delighted that our partnership with Seetec Pluss has already supported more than seven-hundred people across Devon into new employment.”

  • Jobseekers wanting to get back into work fast, can find out more here.
  • Employers looking for a job-ready candidate, see here.

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