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Joe-Collins May Success Story


Joe is 25 and has recently completed a master’s degree in concept arts (with distinction) and also a first class honours degree in Computer Character Animation. We first met Joe when he attended our job club at Westfield Farm and met with Laura, who offered him advice on how to make improvements to his CV and referred him to our Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) Programme. Joe then went on to meet Emma, one of our YEI Advisors at Eston Job Centre to look at Joe’s options, as he needed to secure work experience.

Emma was impressed with Joe and felt he had so much to offer. He is a very presentable and well-educated young man, who has manners and morals and the desire to do well. After an honest conversation with Joe about the reality of pursuing a career that would make full use of his degrees in the Tees Valley, Emma discussed volunteering and work experience opportunities at Beyond Housing. Emma suggested Westfield Farm, our training and resource centre, as a perfect starting point for volunteering because she knew that it was such a warm and welcoming environment with supportive colleagues.

Joe’s journey

The Volunteer Co-ordinator was really keen to meet Joe and get him involved. On Joe’s first day at Westfield Farm, he immediately felt ‘at home’. He started volunteering once a week and the improvement in his confidence was almost immediate. Joe appreciated the level of support and encouragement he received and how he was welcomed into the team. He has gone from strength to strength with the support of Westfield Farm and now has the confidence to apply for other opportunities. With regular face to face catch ups with Emma and telephone support when needed, Joe attended a jobs fair at Middlesbrough College to speak to prospective employers. Something he would never have dreamed of doing before he came to us, as his anxiety would have prevented him from walking in. He has also registered for a customer service course with a local provider, which will give him knowledge and skills to transfer into many employment sectors/opportunities.


Having realised he actually has a lot to offer an employer, Joe applied to Beyond Housing for a temporary housing admin position. Emma arranged for an informal chat with a colleague about the role, in preparation for his interview. Although unsuccessful, he impressed the interviewers so much that he was placed into the talent pool. Amazing! Especially for someone with little work experience to draw on. We are now looking at a work experience placement within the service centre and housing teams to give Joe a better understanding of the roles within those departments, and to provide Joe with work experience for interview situations.

We have helped Joe to obtain a provisional driving licence so he has a photographic form of ID, helped him to purchase work clothes ready for when he secures employment and we have reviewed his CV following the advice given from Laura. Laura’s advice was obviously spot on and Joe took it all onboard.

Joe has also attended our volunteer celebration event and a customer focus group, where he was very complimentary about the service he has received from our Employability team.

Joe is keeping his options open and has also applied to the NHS Prospects Programme, which is a 12-week work placement at James Cook Hospital to start in September 2023.

Joe has been a pleasure to work with and has completed everything that has been asked of him. Customers like Joe remind the team of why we love our jobs and the service we offer.