'I feel I have a positive future and that I have genuine support to turn to, if and when, I need it'

Sadie, 49, was referred to Kennedy Scott through the job centre in January 2015 following a spell of unemployment lasting over 9 months.

Initially Sadie was apprehensive and felt negatively towards the referral, which is common to a large number of jobseekers who are referred through Job Centre Plus to training companies like Kennedy Scott. This is often because individuals don’t know what to expect and they can have underlying problems which create barriers to employment. She said: “I was angry and fed up about the whole thing, as I felt my hand was being forced.”

Sadie admits to being surprised when she entered Kennedy Scott’s doors in Birmingham and was greeted by the team: “On my arrival at Kennedy Scott I had a lovely warm welcome from the staff.”

“I had a little word with myself and decided to change my attitude. I had not updated my CV for some time and though deep down I knew it could help me.”

Sadie’s CV was updated with the help of staff and she attended group workshops which assist with covering letters, successful job searching techniques, interview preparation and mock interviews. Although reluctant at first, Sadie took it upon herself to change her attitude and by turning it around she ended up having a very different experience to the one she had pre-determined.

“I had only been half heartedly job searching. I totally understood that I needed this intensity of job searching with excellent guidance and support.

“Being with a group of strangers with different backgrounds, talents and experiences made me re-assess, in the most honest way that I have done in a long time.”

Sadie’s advisor Natalie said: “After changing the way she felt towards the course, Sadie was enthusiastic, open minded and receptive. She influenced the individuals in her group workshops, and after seeing Sadie successfully secure work they have been driven by her success.”

With almost 20 years experience in catering and hospitality, Sadie secured full-time employment in a cookery school and was signed off benefits at the beginning of March this year.

“It felt nice to know I had a whole office routing for me. My confidence significantly and noticeably grew. I know that if I were to seek this type of help and advice in the private sector then it would be really costly.

“I feel I have a positive future and that I have genuine support to turn to, if and when, I need it.”

And Sadie has these words of advice for jobseekers that are offered a similar opportunity: “I whole heartedly ask anyone and everyone who gets sent on a course like this to grab it with both hands and squeeze the most out of the experience- what have you got to lose?”