In the community programme, we usually spend the majority of our time on site, working directly with people in the workplace, helping them to learn the different aspects of their role, supporting them to settle into a new environment, and then coaching them with their tasks until they feel confident and able enough for us to drop back.
As all of this relies on us being in close contact and being able to see and hear what they are doing, the Corona virus lockdown has proved quite an obstacle! Most of the people we work with are now doing so from home as much as their job will allow, as are we the job coaches.
In a way it has been a blessing in disguise, as we have been very lucky to have the opportunity to try new techniques and different ways to coach our clients, most of all using Zoom and Teams. While there will always be roles where a Job Coach has to be physically present, the use of communication tech allows us to see what the person we are supporting can see and to be able to speak to them in real time, to share our own screens and documents, and to join in with their team briefings and meetings with their in-house mentors or supervisors, all of which is very close to what we would do if we were physically present.
We have learnt to overcome a great number of potential hazards, and it has given us new options and additional tools that we can use beyond the current pandemic, which makes scheduling training and meetings very much easier, and very importantly also allows us to save time and fuel moving physically between sites, so it’s good for efficient working and the planet!
However, we do miss the opportunity to meet and speak to our job seekers, colleagues and partners in person so are working hard to rethink what we do as restriction are lifted. We look forward to supporting more people in and through work and to working together to reduce the impact of the pandemic.
For a glimpse at just one way we have been changing the way we work, take a look at our new films on our website - https://www.sixteencoop.co.uk/the-digital-job-coach.html