Partnership with SOCOTEC UK and FEDCAP
SOCOTEC is the UK's leading provider of testing, inspection, and certification services, with comprehensive solutions in the Infrastructure, Environment & Safety, Environmental Science and Building & Real Estate sectors.
FEDCAP – IPES made initial contact with SOCOTEC in late 2021. Becky Smith, Occupational Inclusion Specialist (OIS), delivered presentations on the IPES programme to the HR, learning and development and recruitment teams.
SOCOTEC presented opportunities that would be suitable for the IPES contract.
Linda Matthews, Head of Talent and Development, expressed: “We are excited to look at partnership opportunities with FEDCAP. There is a lot of potential for SOCOTEC to demonstrate ways in which we can support people to come into our organisation.”
In early 2022, Becky Smith was introduced by Linda Matthews, Head of Talent and Development, to Sonny Edwards, general manager for Materials Testing South. Sonny took a keen interest in the work FEDCAP were doing and was open to supporting IPES customers.
The first IPES customer was successfully offered a job in March 2022, followed quickly by a second successful job offer in May 2022.
Throughout the application, interview and onboarding process, Sonny, Kevin McQuilliam (field operations and customer support manager) and Maddie Garthley (deputy section manager) worked closely with FEDCAP to ensure that they took the time to fully understand the customers’ strengths, and supported them to become embedded within the SOCOTEC team. Sonny said: “The biggest positive is there is no difference between taking Nigel and Jack on compared to taking anyone else on. They are good role models, and have a great attitude and work ethic.”
As the partnership continued to strengthen, more opportunities arose for both FEDCAP and SOCOTEC. SOCOTEC agreed to partake in the IPES/M3 Virtual Jobs Fair in May 2022. The presentation was delivered by the Resourcing Partners, who took the time to adapt their presentation to ensure it was accessible for our customers to understand.
Further to this, FEDCAP agreed to support SOCOTEC UK Ltd through the stages of Disability Confident, and on a FEDCAP site visit to Uxbridge in May 2022, we were joined by Linda Matthews – Head of Talent and Development, and Lisa Massey – HR Director to complete the first stage sign up for SOCOTEC UK Ltd to be recognised as Disability Confident Committed. Becky Smith will continue to lead the process with Lisa Massey to support progression to Level 3 Disability confident leaders.
Lisa Massey (HR Director), said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to be working with FEDCAP. Irrespective of an individual’s needs, they should feel that they can be included in a normal working environment. Organisations can always adapt and accommodate, and we should make full use of the talents they have got.”
Becky Smith will work with the wider FEDCAP teams to create a formal partnership with SOCOTEC UK Ltd to widen the possibilities and open opportunities to other FEDCAP contracts.
To date, SOCOTEC has employed two customers from the IPES contract and a further customer from the JETS team. FEDCAP continues to submit customers forward for other live vacancies while we await identification of a routeway.
Nigel joined FEDCAP in July 2021. He suffered with depression and had complex diabetic needs which needed to be met with a combination of medication, diet and insulin. Nigel had been out of work for some years, and despite his determination to find employment, he often felt that his age went against him.
Nigel was linked with Specialist Key Worker (SKW), Gemma Boys. Gemma worked with Nigel and supported him to develop his confidence with IT. This would allow Nigel to search and apply for jobs, which he was keen to do straight away.
Nigel showed interest in both driving and warehouse jobs, and while he always remained open to this work, he wanted this within an organisation that he had an interest and passion about.
As time passed on, Nigel didn’t find any roles, and the rising winter energy prices put significant strain on him. Paul Curtis , community provisions co-ordinator (CPC), was involved, and with Nigel’s consent, he referred Nigel across to a local food bank.
In January 2022, Nigel was referred across to Becky Smith, occupational inclusion specialist (OIS), who completed a Vocational Assessment to identify Nigel’s strengths and areas of adjustment. Nigel made it really clear what his goals were, and he voiced nothing other than commitment to finding work.
Becky then reached out to SOCOTEC to see what vacancies they had in and around Nigel’s local area. SOCOTEC responded with two vacancies that may be suitable for Nigel.
To prepare Nigel for the interview, Gemma supported with some interview preparation. FEDCAP also supported Nigel with £73 towards clothing to build his confidence and presentation ahead of the interview.
Maddie Garthley, deputy section manager, contacted Nigel to discuss both roles. Maddie made Nigel feel relaxed, and this enabled him to be open about his strength and barriers. On the back of this conversation, SOCOTEC was then able to offer Nigel a role as a trainee field technician based out of Uxbridge.
The role was full time, and this would allow Nigel to come off universal credit altogether.
The role included the use of a vehicle, but due to supplier delays, Nigel needed to make his own way into Uxbridge. However, without his own car he was reliant on trains, and the 20-mile road journey took over two hours on the trains. FEDCAP informed SOCOTEC of this and after two days of train travel, SOCOTEC sourced Nigel a vehicle as priority to prevent the lengthy commute.
Nigel has now become established and embedded within the team in Uxbridge. Nigel said: “SOCOTEC is understanding of my health and has really understood my condition. The technicians always stop and chat, it’s brilliant. Having this job has given me a purpose. I don’t want to stay in bed anymore – even if I am feeling tired, I still want to get up and go into work.” He also went on to say: “I want to carry on doing this until I retire. I would even consider going down to part time at retirement. I would love to continue for as long as I am capable.”
Gemma Boys said: “I believe Nigel has made huge progression in his own self-confidence and in his self-belief that he can in fact do the job.”
Jack started his IPES Journey in February 2021. During his first appointment, he expressed that he was not confident academically, but had a keen interest in exotic animals and had even considered joining the military. To help Jack understand his skillsets, he completed a skills assessment. This highlighted environment and land and construction and trade as other areas of skill.
Emma Davis was Jack’s assigned specialist key worker. As the months progressed, Emma spent time working on Jack’s confidence, stress management and helping Jack in establishing a better sleeping pattern.
With Jack’s consent, he was signed up to the FEDCAP Hub and completed courses via Digital College.
Jack undertook structured activities to develop his interview skills and was proactive in doing so.
Emma worked with Jack to develop a good quality CV, which focused in on his key and transferrable skills.
Throughout the 15 months of pre-work support, Emma supported Jack to create a solid foundation to enable him to transition into work.
While Jack’s passion remained working with animals, he was receptive to considering other areas of employment.
In April 2022, a job opportunity arose with SOCOTEC UK Ltd as a trainee field technician based out of the Weymouth lab. OIS Becky Smith held conversations with both Jack and Emma, and it was agreed this role would be suitable for Jack. However, he had only held a full UK license for two weeks, and understandably had some anxieties about driving a van around the region.
Becky contacted SOCOTEC and explained the length of time the license was held and promoted Jack's key skills.
Jack was then offered a telephone interview with Maddie Garthley, deputy section manager, and Kevin McQuilliam, field operations and customer support manager. The interview was successful, and Jack was offered the job.
FEDCAP supported Jack financially with fuel contributions for the first week until he was issued with a van. SOCOTEC understood that there would be a cost implication to Jack if there was a delay with the vehicle, and therefore they sourced a hire vehicle for him.
As a new driver, Jack had some initial concerns over the size of the vehicle and needing some time to build his confidence. Kevin and the team at SOCOTEC fully understood this and agreed to swap his vehicle with a smaller one to alleviate some of those worries.
To welcome Jack further to the team, they arranged for him to be brought to the Uxbridge depot so that he could meet the teams face to face.
Jack has now been working with SOCOTEC for three weeks, and he continues to develop not only in confidence, but also gaining more of an understanding and belief in his own skills and abilities.
When FEDCAP spoke to Jack about the job, he said: “I feel great about it, it's good so far. I never thought I'd go for a job like this, but I'm actually excited to see where it goes from here”.
Emma Davis (SKW) said: “Jack has shown such dedication and commitment to his development and progression. With an open mind and willingness to try new things, he has now secured a job where he can demonstrate his excellent skillset and has the opportunity to gain experience in a new trade/field, with a supportive employer. It is so great to see Jack achieve his potential, and I have no doubt he will be a true asset to SOCOTEC. Well done Jack!”
Jack will continue to be supported by FEDCAP for a further six months while he settles into a new working routine and embeds himself into life at SOCOTEC.