21 Jan 2021

Millions of people face uncertainly over the future of their employment. With the end of the furlough scheme on the horizon and untold damage to the economy from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is a very worrying time. Redundancies rose to record levels as we came to the end of 2020.


There is support out there for those struggling to find work, however, and one such scheme is LaunchPad; a free employability programme which was set up by The Lighthouse in Surrey when it became clear just how many of the UK workforce were at risk of unemployment from the pandemic.


We spoke to the team at LaunchPad to find out more about the programme.


An Introduction to LaunchPad


The Lighthouse in Woking set up Launchpad with a portion of government funding which they matched, in a response to the threat to employment from Covid-19. It looks to help people rethink their skills, build confidence and become creative when thinking about their next career move.  Using a combination of workshops and 1-2-1 counselling, it helps our participants position themselves and their skills effectively when applying for jobs and also prepare for interviews.


About the course


It is a 4 week programme, which runs every month and is comprised of two elements; a series of three 1-2-1 coaching sessions; and six group workshops (of up to eight people). 


The 1-2-1 coaching conversations take place via Zoom with our executive coach, Chris. He helps course members to examine their goals, identify transferable skills and their past experience in order to explore all potential career options. The aim is to develop a plan for their job search which has been tailored individually to each participant.


These sessions are designed to complement the weekly in-person group workshops led by our professional communication skills coach, Josie. She uses creative ways to build confidence, resilience and communication techniques whilst challenging programme attendees to build self-awareness and tap into their as yet unrecognised or undiscovered skills. In some cases, this involves re-writing the narrative of their personal journey.


Meet the Coaches





My experience as a Communication Coach is derived from my thirty year acting career. We are each playing any number of different roles every day. How do you prepare and present your best self for each situation you face? How do you carve out the emotional space needed to be fully present to the requirement of the present moment? The joy for me in Launchpad is getting the opportunity to look again at people’s stories and enable them to recognise what an extraordinary range of skills they have already exhibited in their own lives. From there, you get to watch them blossom and feel excited about the prospect of a new adventure at work rather than facing a seemingly un-scalable mountain.


Before becoming a full time Coach, I built a successful career in finance, working in leadership roles for a number of global institutions with experience in Sales & Marketing, Strategic Business Development and Team Building & Leadership. Executive coaching is really a culmination of what I have enjoyed most in my business career so far. I am by nature curious, open-minded, entrepreneurial, proactive & results-driven. My coaching philosophy is quite simple and reflects this ethos. I enjoy helping clients unlock fresh thinking and find new purpose in order to enhance their performance and achieve their goals.


The work it’s doing - Deb's Story


One of our participants felt like she might be “washed up.” At nearly 60 years of age, having spent more than a third of that in an abusive relationship which only ended three years ago, and consumed with raising my children, one of whom who has needed much extra attention due to ASD, the prospect of applying for and getting a job seemed an unreachable dream. Her previous attempts had failed for one reason or another and she couldn’t help but feeling like a failure.


Then she saw an advert for Launchpad and got in touch with us. Her expectations of the same old regurgitated dry advice on putting a CV together were quickly dispelled.


“The course was engaging, creative and truly showed me how to look at both myself and the approach to job hunting differently.


Through the workshops with Josie and Chris’ fantastic 1-2-1 coaching, it emerged that I would excel at and be most happy at a position in a school, working with children with special needs. 


Anna, Launchpad’s programme manager, recalled receiving a note from a just such a school that they were in need of Teaching Assistants.  After I obtained a Zoom interview with the school, which I was very nervous about, Anna spent an extra hour coaching me on how to interview effectively via Zoom and how to best prepare for the interview.  Having someone else care about the outcome really made a difference in how I felt going in.


The interview went really well, and the assistant headteacher told me the same day that I got the job!  I plan to keep attending the Launchpad course until my start date because Josie, Chris and Anna have done so much for my confidence, self- esteem and the way I view employment that it will be a great benefit for me to spend every minute I can with them."


How to find out more and apply


If you feel you would benefit from Launchpad visit their website or email the programme manager, Anna.


Please note currently the course is run completely remotely and we are accepting applicants from anywhere. However, when rules allow, the workshops will be run face to face and therefore all applicants must be within an acceptable travel distance from Woking.

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