Friday, June 21, 2024

How Salema and the Jobs Hub team help to change people’s lives

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Working in Bedford Borough Council’s Jobs Hub is a privilege says Salema Khatun, who spends her days “making small differences to people’s lives which can have a huge impact”.

Salema is the Jobs and Skills Team Leader and has been with the Council for nine years, having grown up in Bedford before moving to London. She was on maternity leave when she saw the role advertised, and from her first day she has enjoyed serving the community she lives in.

Salema said; “Everyone here believes in Bedford Borough – we all want to help people who live here and to deliver results. It’s more than just a job, and every day you can see the impact you have on other people’s lives.

“When I started, I met with one of my former managers and they told me ‘When someone walks through that door, remember that you don’t know what struggle they’ve had to get here’. That’s why we want people to feel at ease from the moment they walk through the front door, and that the first thing our advisers do at the first meeting is to put their pens down and simply listen.”

A person’s journey with the Jobs Hub will begin with booking an appointment. That can be done in person, by email or phone, or by being referred such as by an NHS partner, a faith or community group, or in some cases schools referring parents.

And the first appointment is crucial says Salema, adding; “It’s one-to-one, and we’re there to listen and hear what they need.

“Sometimes it’s a one-off visit, or it can be ongoing. There aren’t restrictions to the number of visits, but around seven out of 10 people simply need help like sorting a CV.

“The second appointment will be job-searching and helping them with how to do that. We’ll also send them links, and there will be a follow-up call to see how they’re getting on.

“Then we’ll call them in again to help with preparation for interviewing.”

But the help that different people need, and how long the journey takes, can vary too.

“Typically, if you’ve been working for most of your adult life, you should be able to get a job in two or three months,” said Salema.

“For people who are under-skilled its not that they can’t get a job or that they can’t do a job – it’s that there’s so much competition. So, if they’ve worked in warehousing for two or three years, we can look to upskill them with a supervisory qualification or look at other jobs.”

From this year the Jobs Hub is changing emphasis to working with people who are economically inactive, such as the unemployed, retired, and stay-at-home parents.

But for Salema and the team, every client is important.

“This job is a real privilege,” she said. “I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

To find out more about the Jobs Hub go to The Jobs Hub – a quick guide to our services | Bedford Borough Council.

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