A 32-year-old Bury woman, who has spent almost three years hunting for a job, is finally celebrating her return to work thanks to a partnership between disability employment specialists Remploy and home furnishings retailer Dunelm.

Zoe Morson has a condition that affects her mental health and she recognises that, without the understanding and encouragement of others, her struggle to find another job would have continued. However, with the continued support of Remploy’s employment advisors in Manchester, she is now enjoying every minute of her new customer services role at Dunelm’s UK contact centre in Radcliffe.

“I have lots of experience of working for other retailers, and I hoped it would be a straightforward process to get another job when I lost mine back in 2014,” said Zoe. “However, after writing hundreds of letters and applying for endless vacancies, I was beginning to think I would never work again.

“I really wanted a job because I have a young son and I want him to be proud of his mum. I try to teach him that we all must earn our way in life and that nothing is handed down on a plate. It is important to me that I set the right example.”

Zoe was referred to Remploy for specialist support by her local Jobcentre Plus, and was soon picked out as a great candidate for a vacancy at Dunelm.

“It was clear that Zoe had the determination to succeed in finding employment, and just needed help in clearing the final hurdles,” said advisor Susan Short from Remploy. “Together, we narrowed down the kind of jobs in which Zoe might excel and identified employers who would appreciate the value of Zoe’s skills and experience. We also sought an employer that would work with her to ensure she is fully supported in her job, and Dunelm was the clear frontrunner.”

Susan continued: “The rest was just a case of Zoe polishing her CV and brushing up on her application and interview skills, as well as learning more about Dunelm and the way it operates.”

When all this was in place, Zoe was interviewed by Stephen Lawton, Knowledge and Communications Manager at Dunelm, and she clearly impressed him – enough for her to offered a job within a couple of days!

“Over the past six months we have doubled the number of contact centre staff we employ, and we need people like Zoe who really want to work and are prepared to help make a positive difference, to us and to our customers,” said Stephen. “Zoe is not the first employee to have come to us from Remploy, and she will certainly not be the last. The support they offer, prior to candidates being interviewed, and after they have been appointed, is really helpful. Together, we can ensure Zoe and her colleagues shine in their jobs.”

“Without doubt, working means I am less stressed, and this improves my health” added Zoe. “Everything is more predictable and enjoyable as a result. My son and I have a better quality of life and my confidence has increased considerably. I enjoy coming to work, and cannot thank Remploy and Dunelm enough for the encouragement they offered in my darker days, and continue to give me now that everything is much brighter.”