Over the course of the pandemic, Ongo’s Employment Support team has continued to help and encourage thousands of local people into work.
From March 2020, the team has signed up and supported 542 people through various services and projects, including Sparc, Kick-Start, and Next Level Project.
Each of these projects have been designed to help local people achieve their employment, confidence, and life goals – such as the Sparc Enterprise project, which can help people set up their own business and be their own boss.
One of those who benefited from the scheme is Ian Sowerby.
Ian’s story – in his own words
For the last 22 years, like many in Scunthorpe, I have worked at the steel works. However, when lockdown hit in March 2020, I was made redundant and suddenly found myself out of work.
This was a huge shock. On one hand, being out of work was hard for me mentally, and I was really missing having that routine; but on the other I got to spend more time with my 11-year-old daughter, which was great.
I knew that when I got back into work I needed something that would be flexible around childcare, and because of this, my options were limited. That’s when someone mentioned the idea of self-employment, and it just clicked.
I’d heard about Sparc and how they help people like me set up a business, so in the same month as being made redundant I got in touch to see how they could help. They gave me some great advice, but with lockdowns and school closures, it wasn’t until August 2020 I really started to focus on my goals.
I’m very proud to say that in February this year, I.S Property Management was born and my client list is growing every day. We carry out general repairs and maintenance around the home and garden, install security features, and other smaller jobs like building furniture and other home improvements.
Not only have the team helped me set up, they were one of my first official customers, too. In February, I began work on their Safer Streets Project in Westcliff, fitting outdoor security features and lights. It’s little things like this that really make a difference to a new business starting out.
I can honestly say I love getting up each day knowing I’m my own boss. I always thought setting up your own business was too much work, too difficult, and there’d be too much paperwork involved; but Sparc has showed me that’s all a myth, and if I can do it, anyone can.
I’m so happy with how my business is progressing and am looking forward to growing it in the future. If all goes to plan, I’d love to give a little something back and take on an apprentice in the next couple of years.
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