From furlough to frontline

Donna returns to employment after 18 months thanks to Restart Scheme support

A Rotherham woman who was furloughed and then made redundant during the COVID-19 pandemic is celebrating being back in work thanks to the Restart Scheme.

As never-before-seen restrictions were implemented and lockdown gripped the nation, businesses across many sectors closed their doors, with workers left facing furlough and redundancy.

But for those who lost their livelihoods amidst the darkness of the pandemic, the Restart Scheme is on hand to help to get them back into sustainable employment and on the path to rebuilding their lives.

Donna Stacey, 51, of Rotherham, was one of those workers. Furloughed from her previous role as a cleaner as the pandemic struck, redundancy followed. After 18 months out of work, Donna was referred to the Restart Scheme in August.

In South Yorkshire, Maximus is working with its partners The Growth Company to deliver the Restart Scheme, which forms part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs.

Donna’s dedicated Employment Advisor Chris soon identified Donna’s concerns surrounding COVID-19 and redundancy as her barriers to employment. Chris developed a plan to provide Donna with the tailored support she needed to overcome these barriers. One point of action in the pipeline was to help Donna to create a CV. Using CV 360, Chris was able to produce Donna a CV that was destined to impress potential employers.

At Donna’s very first appointment, Chris and Donna looked at jobs available on The Growth Company’s employer engagement vacancies system. They identified a part-time cleaner role as a vacancy of interest. Chris was on hand to assist Donna with everything she needed to move forward, including help with completing application forms and assisting with a Better Off calculation.

Donna said: “Chris went through what he would help me to do and set a plan up. Chris was going to help me with my CV. On my very first day I saw the job and asked if I could enquire for that, and it went from there.”

With the knowledge that Chris and the Restart Scheme were cheering her on all the way, Donna secured an interview for the role, in which she was successful. Donna started her new job in September.

Donna added: “Chris did everything for me. He did calculations for me, and he sent my application to the manager. I went for an interview, and I got it! I am really pleased.”

But the support from the Restart Scheme didn’t end when Donna clinched her new job. The Restart Scheme provided Donna with vouchers towards uniform and a bus pass to help her to travel to work until pay day. Donna will also continue to receive In Work Support from Chris as she settles into her new role.

Donna said: “I appreciate the help I’ve been given. I felt I had somebody there who knew about CV’s etc. I’m no good with computers so face to face was better. Chris helped me through the interview. He’s been brilliant.”

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