How a work placement with us helped Karen get back on her feet
Karen Heffernan (centre) with HEAT manager NIck Gissing (left) and Employment Skills Officer Kate Wainwright
One of our customers, Karen Heffernan, recently spent six months working with our Home Energy Advice Team (HEAT) in Hove. She explains how her work placement helped her get back on her feet and land a permanent job.
“After I was made redundant in 2013, I was out of work for three years, and my confidence suffered. I lost touch with working in an office environment,” explains Karen.
“I was referred to Kate [Wainwright, one of the Group’s Employment Skills Officers] who was absolutely fantastic. She helped me with my CV and application forms, and sent me jobs I could apply for. An opportunity to do a work placement with HEAT at the Hove office came up which she put me forward for.
“For six months I worked two days a week with HEAT and kept a weekly diary evaluating my progress and achievements. I loved it – the people I worked with were great and I really enjoyed my job. Working for Southern Housing Group and also being a customer gave me a unique insight into what the Group offers that I didn’t have before.
“When my work placement was coming to an end, Kate put me forward for a permanent role with Sanctuary Housing as a Lettings and Voids Administrator. With her help, I’d done so much preparation for my interview that I wasn’t nervous at all on the day. I finished my work placement on 2 Aug, had my interview on 3 Aug, and was offered the job on the 4 Aug! I start my new job in September and I’m really looking forward to starting. I’m pleased that I’m going to continue working in housing.”
Kate is proud of how far Karen has come since she first started working with her: “Karen demonstrates that we really care about our customers and are prepared to go the extra mile to help them achieve their goals and ambitions. It’s fantastic to be able to support our customers in so many different and innovative ways.”
Karen is keen to carry on the momentum she built up during her work placement: “I want to keep learning, keep up to date with new systems, and keep interacting with people.”
As for others who may find themselves in a similar position, she is clear with her advice: “Take all the help you can get and make the most of it.”
We offer around four paid work placements a year doing administrative work for one of our teams. Placements are designed to help people regain their confidence and build their skills and knowledge. If you’d like to know more about a work placement with us, get in touch with Raj Kaur on 020 7017 8501 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For enquiries, please contact:
Mary Weeks Communications Manager Southern Housing Group 0207 553 6841