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James Tonjes, The Way Forward customer

Employability day workshop with BCHA's The Way Forward

Pictured at The Way Forward’s Meet the Team event on Employability Day (30 May 2021) - left to right: Customer James Tonjes, Kate Coughlan (Project Advisor), Nadia Silva (Project Advisor), customers Carl Care and Paul Dooman

The Way Forward is a unique employability and skills coaching programme for anyone within the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area of Dorset, whose financial health and employment status has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

James Tonjes (pictured above left) is one of a growing number of customers of The Way Forward who are expanding their learning and securing job interviews.

The Way Forward Project advisor Nadia Silva explained: “James Tonjes was referred to The Way Forward in March 2021 by his father who had heard about the project and thought it would help him get back on his feet financially and into work.

James has a background in catering and hospitality, working as a kitchen porter and kitchen assistant. But since becoming unemployed he has struggled with his confidence and self-esteem and lacked motivation with his job search.

We work closely with local employers and other organisations such as Citizens Advice, BCP Council (BCP) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to provide a seamless service.

Our team of dedicated advisors provide a personalised service to individuals through flexible online, telephone and face-to-face appointments.

We help individuals identify transferable skills, as well as accessing training and education to equip them to move into employment. We also support individuals to develop healthy financial habits and overcome financial hardship, in what is a very unpredictable time.

An assessment of James’s requirements established a need for a one-to-one session to build confidence and self-esteem.

This would enable James to set himself a routine of getting up early, listening to motivating speakers, taking daily walks and dedicating time to his work search.

We also held a one-to-one session to improve James' CV, where we created a final copy that he was happy with, which identified his transferable skills to increase his confidence in interviews. We also practiced mock interviews.

Throughout the programme James was also supported to access Universal Credit benefit and was referred on to BCHA's personal development course, which is run by the Employability Skills Ignite team.

And as a result of this James has secured two kitchen porter interviews.

The Way Forward is getting excellent results - the programme has only been running since March 2021, but already six people have achieved accredited learning, two people have gained paid employment and some, like James, have been successful in gaining interviews.”

James has been with the project for seven weeks and has already attended four interviews for paid employment.

Speaking about his experience with The Way Forward, James said: “The help and support I have received from The Way Forward has helped me feel more confident with interviews and it was great to have another perspective on my CV. It was also useful to be sent links of jobs that suited me. It has definitely helped with my motivation to find work.”

Anyone aged 18 and over who has been financially affected by Covid-19 since March 2020 is eligible for support through The Way Forward.

This includes the unemployed, people who have been made redundant, those currently on furlough, or those who are currently employed but at risk of losing their job or on reduced hours and struggling financially.

If you would like to find out more about The Way Forward or to enrol onto the project, please contact the team on 07971 614935/07971 640948 or email or visit The Way Forward web page.


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