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A Day in the Life – James Pepper, Navigator

Infographic of James' day in the life, featuring coffee cups, autumn walks, phone calls, laptops and more coffee

“The first job of the day is coffee! Either I, or one of my collages will make coffee for the rest of the office.  Once we’re refueled and had a bit of a natter about what our days entail, we’re all ready to start.

My first task is to check my diary, and remind myself what appointments I have, what emails need action and what, if anything, didn’t get finished yesterday.  I like to make to-do lists and making sure my diary is up to date helps to keep me on track, whilst also giving my team members an idea of my workload and whereabouts.

I have a bit of time before I make my first call to a participant, so I use the opportunity to finish writing up a suitability assessment I started the previous afternoon.  Before someone can join our programme, we need to check both their eligibility and their suitability – this isn’t as daunting as it sounds, we just need to make sure they are eligible for our support and they’re ready to start and move forward.

I then call a participant to discuss information that I previously sent across to them.  The purpose of the call is to discuss what they wish their next step to be and based on our conversation I then make some referrals to training providers that the participant has showed an interest in.

Throughout the morning the office is a buzz of activity, with people popping in and out for appointments and the phone ringing.  There are also discussions between staff members about potential resources for the participants, we help each other out by offering advice and make sure we all know about who does what.  This means if we get a participant who is keen to follow a certain career path, we know the best training providers, courses, or services around the local area who can support them.

The next task is an appointment out in the community.  I love this element of my job as it means I can get some fresh air, it’s a 15-minute walk from the office to the meeting room I have booked.  The building isn’t open to the public, so I deactivate the alarms and make sure all the lights are on, ready for my appointment to arrive.  There is also time for another coffee!

At the appointment I collect the participants evidence and carry out the suitability assessment.  I find out that we’re both really into Crafts so we spent some time chatting about that – it’s great when you find a common ground as it helps to build a strong relationship from the start!

I’ve booked the room for an additional hour, so I can get my head down and write up all my notes in peace and quiet.  During this time I get a phone call from a participant of mine who needs some emergency support.  I help to calm them down and assess their wellbeing and although they needed to talk to me immediately it wasn’t a serious event so I don’t need to escalate further.  I don’t have the answer to their query however I promise to look it up and will let them know who will be able to provide them with the support they’re looking for.  I talk everything through with them and following the phone call I send everything to them via Text message so they can refer back to it at a later date.  It’s not long before another Navigator from the team arrives as they’ve booked the space for one of their appointments.  I hand the keys over and we have a quick catch up before I start and head back to the office.

On the way I bump into Nick, he runs the Mental Health and Wellbeing Course for our participants and we discuss the upcoming workshop.  Once I’m back in the office I make a few more calls, make some more coffee and the rest of the day is spent getting information uploaded onto MIS (our Management Information System, where we’re required to keep notes and upload evidence for each participant to document their journey and remain compliant with our funders guidance).”

James Pepper

James Pepper, Navigator for South Tyneside

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