Since March 2018, Akerz has been working as a Work Coach at his local Jobcentre Plus. More recently, he has been helping 18 to 24 year old’s access the government’s Kickstart Scheme*, which provides funding to employers to create high quality six-month job placements for young people claiming Universal Credit. Launched last year, Kickstart helps young job seekers develop new skills and move into sustained employment after they have completed funded job placements. But the path to employment isn’t always easy.
“I often meet young job seekers that are plagued with self-doubt due to a lack of confidence, experience or guidance,” shares Akerz. “Many of them are unsure of their aspirations or future plans and confused about what steps they need to take to achieve them.” Still in his 20’s, Akerz finds it easy to relate to those he is expected to help, as he too is still finalizing his plans for the future.
“Although I have an idea of where I want to be now, this may change in the next five to 10 years,” says Akerz, “But there is no progress without change.” Due to his own experiences, Akerz is aware of how daunting change can be, especially for some of his more vulnerable customers, such as asylum seekers and domestic violence survivors, or those with health conditions and substance addictions. “It’s about being human,” he says. “We all face different obstacles, and approach them in different ways.”
With a background in sales, Akerz has strong interpersonal and persuasion skills, which he uses to build strong relationships and motivate those he is trying to help. “Sometimes it just takes a bit of convincing,” says Akerz. “When you’ve been out of work for a while, it can be particularly demotivating. My job is to help job seekers be confident in their job search and overcome any barriers they might face.” Akerz does this through empathy, coaching and positive reinforcement.
Cultural awareness also helps Akerz whilst interacting with someone from a diverse background. “I am aware of certain cultural barriers some job seekers may face, and do what I can to help them overcome these by taking a more tailored approach,” he says. As such, Akerz can offer effective solutions that do not minimize his customers experiences.
This includes referring job seekers to local and regional providers that can help with learning, upskilling and gaining qualifications. “We can refer you to local providers such as the National Careers Service, Ixion and Pathways*, which both help young people smarten up their CVs with the skills and experience employers are looking for,” shares Akerz.
If you’re looking for work, JobHelp is a good place to start. Vacancies recently returned to pre-pandemic levels so there are jobs out there to apply for. Visit gov.uk/jobhelp to get started.