'It's changed my life': Jackie's story of how a Bridlington employment programme has helped her turn her life around

Brid Works advisers Arfon Williams and Carl Southoat, with new Holly Lodge employee Jackie Purcell, Managing Director Kim Cullumbine and owner Shelly Lee.
Brid Works advisers Arfon Williams and Carl Southoat, with new Holly Lodge employee Jackie Purcell, Managing Director Kim Cullumbine and owner Shelly Lee.

A Bridlington resident has told how a council based employment programme has "changed her life."

Jackie Purcell took early retirement from her last job as a charity shop manager but soon realised that retirement didn’t really suit her and she "needed something to do."

The mother of two, said: "I've always done shop work so I was a manger at a charity shop, worked in Waitrose and TK Maxx but after I took retirement I needed something to do as there's only so much house work you can do.

"I had applied for jobs but it didn't go very well - I never heard back."

She signed up to the Brid Works Programme, delivered by the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Employment Education and Skills team, for help and support and took up a part time, voluntary role in retail while also taking some short courses at the Adult Learning Centre in IT and online job seeking skills.

Since the programme launched in April, Brid Works advisers have engaged with local Bridlington based employers and clients who looking to return to work after a period of unemployment.

One employer who was keen to work in partnership with the programme was care home manager and director of Lucy Lodge and Holly Lodge, Kim Cullumbine.

She went on to offer Brid Works clients a range of bespoke opportunities to gain a valuable first-hand insight of the range of different health care roles. And to provide those people with the opportunity of practical hands on training and development through a supported four week rolling work experience programme.

Kim went on to comment that for those clients who showed the right commitment and attitude, this opportunity could lead to actual paid employment in respect to future job vacancies that may arise with their company.

Jackie, who moved to Bridlington two years ago from Burton on Trent, was successful in her job interview with Holly Lodge and has since started work.

She had never even considered a career in the care sector until this was discussed as part of her programme of support.

"I’m so excited to be returning to paid work again, especially as it’s taken a completely new direction in a completely different career. The staff are really helpful and friendly here. It sounds cheesy but it's really changed my life - I'm so grateful I've been given this chance."

Jackie is not the only success story from the project, but six other people have started work in and around the Bridlington area.

Jackie Langley, external funding and development manager, said: "Brid Works isn’t just a typical employability programme.

"Yes we will sort out a CV for our clients and help them with their application form, but what we really try and do on the programme is increase the confidence and motivation of our clients so that they are better equipped to succeed at the job opportunities that we find together.

"We always say to clients that we will help you to get to the front of the job queue!”

What is Brid Works?

Brid Works advisers work intensively on a one to one basis with clients, and work with employers to match clients to vacancies. The types of roles that the team work with clients on are broad and include front of house, customer service, administration, care work and retail.

Advisers work with clients to get them ready for job interviews with employers from their Adult Learning Centre, next door to the central library on King Street in Bridlington.

Although not all clients get jobs first time around, they do acquire renewed confidence after the interview, as they work together with their adviser to discuss feedback and look at ways that they can improve for next time.

Most employers are looking for some kind of work experience when interviewing clients, so if clients don’t have experience of one particular role or sector the Brid Works advisers try and find volunteering/work experience as part of the programme.

Who can access the project?

It offers opportunities for people aged 18 years and over who are unemployed or economically inactive to gain the skills they need to move into employment, education or training.

Support is personalised to each individual who walks through the door.

What does Brid Works involve?

Employability support has been delivered at the Adult Learning Centre to hundreds of individuals across the East Riding last year alone. This latest funding is an opportunity to help people specifically in the Bridlington postcode area and the team will be bringing their own blend of creative and innovative training to the town.

From Dragon’s Den style workshops, developing team building and presentation skills, to mental toughness workshops to get people thinking about their personal resilience when applying for jobs, all support is tailored to the individual.

Adult learning courses

The team who deliver the Brid Works programme also deliver Adult Learning courses in the East Riding.

Therefore programme continues to ensure that clients get suitable training and where required further education and qualifications in English, maths and ICT to ensure that they get minimum level qualifications to meet the needs of employers.

Feedback from people who have enrolled on the programme say that they like the mental toughness and resilience course - a new part of the programme.

If you would like to apply to join Brid Works, or want to find out about any of the other support that is available at the Bridlington Adult Learning Centre, please visit the centre on King Street, or call 01262 677500, or visit www.eastriding.gov.uk/learn.