Kirsty moves closer to finding her dream job

Kirsty Filler gained life-changing work experience thanks to ESRA (Employment Support and Retraining Agency), YMCA East Surrey and the East Surrey Pathway to Employment programme.

After losing her job and living in temporary accommodation for two years, life for Kirsty and her three children was very uncertain. Losing her job had a profound affect on Kirsty’s mental health. She felt like she had been treated unfairly and without respect.

Kirsty’s primary challenge was to overcome her increasing anxiety and depression. She had lost her confidence and felt that employment was out of reach.

Kirsty was referred to the Pathway to Employment programme who arranged for an Employment Advisor to support her. Kirsty was offered an opportunity to enroll on confidence and communication workshops, designed for smaller groups.  Because of these workshops, Kirsty’s self-esteem and confidence levels increased substantially.

Counselling with a mental health charity, Heads Together, helped Kirsty to manage her anxiety better and find strategies to fight her depression.

Kirsty enjoyed being active and playing sport. Going to the gym was her passion but she struggled to afford the membership fee. Through the Pathways programme, she was offered a six-month free gym membership at the YCMA East Surrey. Being able to work out and stay active has given Kirsty a tremendous boost and helped to reduce her depression.

Kirsty had previously found employment in hairdressing and administration, but she was unsure of what career path she wanted to follow. Her Employment Advisor, Judy, suggested that she should first undertake some work experience. Judy contacted Jobcentre Plus in Redhill who were able to offer Kirsty six-weeks of work shadowing. Helping other people with their job applications heightened Kirsty’s confidence and improved her work and IT skills.

“I’ve been very pleased with the help Kirsty has given us. She has shown great commitment to the centre and our customers.  I wish her every success in her future career and life,” said her work coach at Jobcentre Plus in Redhill.

Following her placement at Jobcentre Plus, Kirsty completed four-weeks of work experience arranged by ESRA, at local Hairstylists. The variety of work experience has given Kirsty more choice in what she decided to do next. Kirsty quickly recognised one of the other stylists, whom she had lost contact with after leaving school, during difficult times. They now keep in touch via Facebook along with other classmates. This gave Kirsty a real pick-me-up.

Sarah, owner of the Hairstylists, said, “Kirsty was very friendly, and got on well with all of our clients. She was flexible and demonstrated a real desire to get involved. If Kirsty chooses to return to hairstyling, there’s no doubt she would be a great success.”

Sarah also suggested that Kirsty might gain an extra boost by taking a refresher hairstylist course at East Surrey College.

Despite gaining invaluable work experience, Kirsty felt that her numeracy and literacy skills fell short of what she needed to find work. With the help of ESRA, she enrolled on a course to improve both at East Surrey College. She has also started volunteering at Donyngs Leisure Centre in Redhill.

Kirsty is thinking carefully about her career options. With the support of Judy and ESRA, she will make a decision about her future and embrace whatever she decided to do.

For more information, or to refer someone to the programme please visit the East Surrey Pathway to Employment page or contact