Employment Plus

Helping people into employment



Adam, 22, was referred to The Salvation Army through the Jobcentre. He had been unemployed for three months and on jobseekers allowance for a couple of months. Before that he had been studying graphic design for five years at Yorkshire Coast College. At the course’s conclusion he couldn’t find a job immediately so went on to claim jobseekers allowance.

The jobcentre staff asked Adam if he would like to undertake work experience – and made to understand that if he didn’t complete the four-week term that his benefits could be affected – he agreed to take part.

Interserve called Adam to arrange work experience and through phone conversations attempted to find something based in Scarborough.

Reluctant to work for a big corporation, Adam was happy when a charity – The Salvation Army – was suggested. He said: “We talked about work experience. I said I’d like to find something in Scarborough – which is not the easiest for finding loads to do. We talked about graphics training, but at this point I just needed something on my CV and a reference. I didn’t feel it was too important where I went.”

Of the placement, he said: “My four-week placement was really positive. The Salvation Army is a well-known name and also the kind of work I wanted to do. I didn’t want to do anything with a corporation – I wanted my work experience to be with a charity or something involved in the community helping people out.

“I know a little bit about The Salvation Army before I started. I knew that it is was a Christian church and they take care of homeless people and help them out. The care and support I received was as expected. The team  were just really, really nice. They made me feel extremely welcome and I felt an equal member of the team. I wasn’t nervous going in – well, maybe a little bit. But I thought I’d be fairly OK – and it turned out they were very nice.”

As part of his work experience, Adam carried out a number of tasks – mostly working at Scarborough Salvation Army’s café and charity shop. “I did washing up, preparing some food, doing a bit of cleaning. I also did a little bit of work in the charity shop and also picked up items from people donating to the church through the charity shop. The church opened a food bank too so I helped with that.”

While there, Adam became a team player, being quick to suggest new ideas or ways or working. “When the team were going to throw out old vinyl records, I offered to sell them on eBay to raise some more money for The Salvation Army. I’m doing this at the moment.”.

Church leader Major Paul Robinson said: “Adam brought a fresh pair of eyes. Too often we get stuck in what we’re doing and Adam helped us to be open about what we were doing and why so we could improve. We have a food bank form that people complete to request food. Adam’s taking this on board to make it a little more friendly and positive for the person who’s coming in for food. We’d created the form from our perspective but he has a different view and it has helped.”

Adam feels he has developed personally from being at The Salvation Army. “I’m more confident in speaking to people now. Since being at The Salvation Army, in other social situations, I have found I have conversations a lot easier. Interacting with people all day in the café and charity shop has been a big help. At college, I stayed with my college friends of 5 years, so never really talked to anyone new. I’ve never had a job in retail, so wasn’t used to dealing with customers. I’ve really enjoyed working, being in a work environment and interacting with the general public.”

Adam said: “The Salvation Army gave me work experience, another reference on my CV and helped me improve my communication. They helped better prepare me for the world of work.”

Major Paul Robinson said: “During his work experience, Adam expressed that he felt he was contributing to the Army’s work, rather than being ‘used’. He came to us with an attitude of wanting to benefit from his experience and as a result we all benefited from this experience.

“I’ve seen Adam develop through the experience. He’s a lot more confident now – he is really one of the team too. Adam has never been different from other team members, because he comes in and works hard as a team player. He’s open, approachable, committed – the sort of person who has a lot to offer a company. It’s great having people like Adam coming to us to tell us what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong. I just see in Adam someone worth investing in.”

Adam is still on jobseekers allowance and searching for employment. However, Adam still volunteers one day a week at The Salvation Army voluntarily. He continues to work in the café and charity shop.

He said: “I carried on because I liked the people there and I didn’t want to sit around all day, so I thought it’d be beneficial to continue.

“I didn’t realise before I helped at The Salvation Army that not everyone there was a Salvationist. A lot of people help out at the shop and café shop and I discovered The Salvation Army is open to having anyone help out. It was great to know everyone is welcome at The Salvation Army.”

“Adam brought a fresh pair of eyes. Too often we get stuck in what we’re doing and Adam helped us to be open about what we were doing and why so we could improve.” Major Paul Robinson

Contact The Salvation Army's Employment Plus service, call 0800 652 4276 or email employmentplus@salvationarmy.org.uk