To coincide with the Time to Talk national awareness day, Aaron talks about the support and he received from Community Connections South adviser Jo Burton at Cambridge Housing Society.
When I first met Jo, I was at a very low point
I first heard about Community Connections South through my Benefits Assessment Officer. When I first met Jo, my Employment Adviser, I was at a very low point. I had started receiving Job Seekers Allowance and Housing Benefit and I had not been in 'traditional work' for 25 years.
I had been developing and designing an artificial intelligence project from home. I had self-funded the project through loans and grants and help from friends but then I ran out of money completely. I needed help urgently with finding work - to pay my rent and to complete my artificial intelligence project.
Just having this constant encouragement was hugely beneficial
Jo helped revise and update my CV and also with job search and job application strategies. The support I received helped with my day-to-day motivation and encouraged me, week-by-week, to keep on applying for software engineer/developer/programming jobs through online, recruitment consultancies and agencies.
Just having this constant encouragement was hugely beneficial. Especially in the face of constant rejection, not hearing back or not getting the job after interview, having prepared so hard.
I had regular, structured meetings to talk and review my progress and setbacks with Jo. This positive support and encouragement kept me focused and helped to clarify my thoughts.
I have now started work as an Applications and Development Engineer with Cheyney Design and Development Ltd.
Jo helped motivate me through difficult times
It is great to be off benefits and to not have to worry about paying my bills and paying for food. I can now devote my spare time to my own AI project, without having to constantly be applying for jobs or attend the job centres.
Having a structure and framework in place, through regular meetings with Jo, helped motivate me through difficult times. It provided me with reassurance, positive support and encouragement.
It gave me time and space to talk, to review and clarify my thoughts and just helped keep me on track. This was a huge help.