Today, we’re celebrating Employability Day 2020, a day to shine a light on the work organisations are doing to help people start their journey towards employment.

We’re proud to support our customers towards employment through Futures Gateways, our employability and training team. We’re focused on giving our customers the tools and confidence they need to move forward in their lives, whether that’s through work, volunteering or connecting with their community.

We work one-to-one to identify ambitions, needs and challenges, knowing that everyone is at a different place on their journey. We can support you with finding courses, developing skills, fine tuning applications and CVs, interview preparations and so much more. We have links with community organisations which means we can help with finding work experience and voluntary opportunities which help you to develop your skills, knowledge and confidence.

We know that the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for many of you, and the questions you have for us now might be different to the ones you had this time last year. We are working hard to stay up-to-date on changes to the labour market and looking for new ways we can support you. We’ve compiled some questions and answers below, but if your question isn’t answered please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

You can contact us any time by emailing or calling 0300 456 2531.

How has the job market been affected by coronavirus?

It’s difficult to know how coronavirus is going to affect the world of work, but we know that some industries, like hospitality, are more likely to be affected for a longer time. While pubs, bars and restaurants might be allowed to re-open, social distancing means they won’t be able to have as many people at once in their spaces, which will probably have an impact on how many staff they need to run their business.

Other industries will need to adjust how they work, so they can keep their staff and their customers safe. Leisure facilities such as gyms and hairdressers might not be able to see as many customers at once, and will need to dedicate time to cleaning and making sure they have the right equipment to keep everyone protected.

Some businesses might have seen an unprecedented demand on their services during coronavirus, and may start to see that easing as we go back towards ‘normal’ life. This might mean that businesses like supermarkets, which have had lots of vacancies to deal with the coronavirus situation, might not have as many jobs available.


What changes should I expect when applying for jobs?

It will depend on the industry or sector you are applying for a job in, as some will be less affected than others by the pandemic. However, in general, we think you’re likely to see the following:

  • Applications completed online rather than on paper or in person
  • Virtual interviews via Skype, Teams, Zoom or a similar platform
  • Training and induction done virtually wherever possible
  • Slightly longer wait times for applications to be processed, due to organisations having fewer staff.

Each organisation will have different processes to manage applications and fill their vacancies, so if you’re not sure what to expect, you can always send a quick message to the HR or recruitment team to see if they have any more information on what changes they’ve had to make due to coronavirus.

How do I prepare for a virtual interview?

For many of us a virtual interview feels like a whole other world! In reality, although it might feel a bit weird to start with, interviews through Skype, Zoom, Teams or another platform are similar to their face-to-face counterparts once you get into them. Our top tips:

  • Dress like you’re going to an interview – even if it’s likely they’ll only see your top half. There are plenty of videos of news anchors who thought they were only in view from the waist up showcasing their pyjama bottoms to the nation, so don’t take the risk!
  • Take your time with your answers and be prepared to repeat yourself if there are technical difficulties.
  • Try to set up in a room with minimal distractions and let the rest of your household know not to disturb you.
  • Don’t be afraid to take notes and allow yourself time to think – silence can be even scarier in an online interview but it’s to be expected.
  • Make sure your device is charged and you can maximise your bandwidth – if others in your household are working or studying from home, see if they can take a half hour break during your interview to avoid slower speeds and jumpy video.
  • Most of all, try not to worry – this is new to everyone, interviewers and candidates alike, and you won’t be marked down for being interrupted by a little one or your wifi signal being a little jumpy. Focus on what you want to say, why you’re right for the job, and how you can show the company that.


What do I do if I lose my job because of coronavirus?

First, we would recommend reaching out to us and our money advice team. We’re here to help with practical advice and guidance and can help you make sure you’re accessing all the support you’re entitled to.

Once we’ve helped you to get set up, we can help you to apply for jobs in your area, support with interview preparation, read over CVs and cover letters and so much more. Whether you’re looking for a change or wanting to jump back in to the same industry, we can give you advice and guidance to help get you where you want to be.

There are lots of other organisations that are also offering free resources and support. A great place to start is this guide from the National Careers Service.

Useful resources:

South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) have created an employment support resource with information on online training, skills support and advice:

The National Careers Service has advice and guidance about where to find vacancies and how to apply:

DBC training are offering free online courses to support people to get back into work:

Goodman Masson, a recruitment company, have created some webinars to help with job hunting:

Derbyshire Learning Services are offering FREE adult learning courses over the summer: