'More people need to know about the Work Programme'

Natalie Jones, 33, is an Employment Consultant in Kennedy Scott’s Dover centre and she was recently awarded the ‘Progression and Dedication Award’ at the training and development company’s 25 year anniversary.

Natalie was presented the award by local MP Charlie Elphicke in front of a large audience. Natalie who was not expecting to receive the award said: “I’m shocked, it was completely unexpected but I’m really grateful. It’s nice to be recognised.”

Praising her colleagues in Dover, Natalie added: “I have been very well supported by an amazing team.”

Natalie, originally from Bolton made the move from her hometown to Dover in April 2014, new to the area she was headhunted by an agency and interviewed by Kennedy Scott. With a background in insurance spanning 14 years and no previous experience in welfare-to-work, it was Natalie’s huge passion and determination that earned her the role.

The centre delivers the Work Programme which is part of the government's long-term economic plan, and according to a report released by ERSA in March 2014, it has helped nearly half a million unemployed people into sustainable employment since its launch in 2011.

Natalie strongly believes the scheme is working, she said: “I think the Work Programme is fantastic, it’s definitely working from what I have seen here in Dover.

"The only problem is not many people know about the Work Programme, even I didn’t previous to working for Kennedy Scott. If people knew they could ask to be referred from the Job Centre Plus to a Work Programme provider more people could be supported with individual barriers to finding work.

“There is a lot of support out there for the unemployed and people need to be made aware of it.”

She continued: “A lot of people just need a chance and somebody who will listen to them, somebody who will make them feel counted.”

This mirrored the words of Dover MP Charlie Elphicke: “This is not just numbers, this is not just statistics. This is changed lives- it’s important to remember that.

“Do not write anyone off, no one is held back and no one is left behind.”

Elvington resident Clive Dixon is just one customer Natalie has helped into work. He was presented the 'Customer Success Award' at the event by Elphicke. Clive said: “I’d worked all my life so finding myself out of work felt rotten. I was just stuck in a very bad rut.

"Kennedy Scott helped me overcome my health problems, got me on email, taught me to use a computer and assisted with my applications- being back in work feels fantastic.”