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Working Homes case study: Imogen’s story

Imogen was referred to the Working Homes project by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, having moved to the area from a refuge in London. She had an Optometry degree from her home country and was looking to practice in the UK, so needed some help in understanding how to do this.

We found out from the General Optical Council that she needed to have the relevant qualification, be registered, have practiced in her UK for at least 12 months and have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) certificate. One criteria she didn’t meet was having the IELTS qualification.

We found some resources for Imogen to study, and the Working Homes project has offered to pay for her test when she is ready. We also gave her a laptop donated by our Level Up project.

Imogen was keen to find a part time job as an optometry assistant to refresh her skills and build her confidence, so we helped her update her CV and discussed childcare options for her son who has special needs. She was soon offered a job as an optical assistant at Vision Express. She also found a childminder which the Working Homes project paid for, enabling her to start work very quickly.

Even though she was enjoying her new job, her son didn’t settle with the childminder. Her employer didn’t want to lose her so agreed to keep her job open until she found suitable childcare. She was soon back at work and her manager agreed for her to work part time.

Imogen is loving her job and is hoping her employer will support her with registering as a UK optometrist.

*Name changed to respect the privacy of the individual

Pathways to Employment case study: Sam’s story

Sam* joined the programme after moving into a hostel. Although Sam had worked prior to moving, there were barriers to her finding work such as low motivation, mental illness, anxiety and a lack of job related skills. She was on medication and had been offered counselling.

Sam’s goal was to become a self-employed mobile nail technician. She was loaned a laptop at the beginning of the project and used it for two years to help her with her training. She already had a professional diploma in acrylic nails which she had funded herself before joining the programme.

We were pleased to fund the final part of her nail course which would allow her, once fully qualified, to apply for public liability insurance. Sam put together a business plan and created a name for her new business.

Unfortunately, the Covid-19 lockdown struck and all courses were put on hold. Sam’s employment support advisor continued to speak with her on a regular basis to help keep her motivated.

After her 30th birthday, Sam moved into her own flat which was a massive milestone for her. Once lockdown ended and courses were reinstated, Sam finished and successfully passed the course, and is already building up a strong client base for her new business.

We wish Sam every success in her business venture!

*Name changed to respect the privacy of the individual

Raven Employment case study: Paula’s story

Paula* was working as cabin crew until the Covid-19 pandemic hit and she was made redundant. When she first joined the programme, she was so frightened she would not be able to secure future employment due to her age. She had always worked since leaving school so being at home was an alien concept for her.

Paula worked with our Digital team and completed some I.T courses. She increased her I.T skills so she could apply for jobs that required computer skills. Paula has a real enthusiasm and thirst for learning. She also completed a befriending course with VARB (a local volunteering agency) and successfully passed.

Recently, she shared the amazing news that she has secured a fulltime job at a hospital as ward administrator. This is a great achievement for a person who had little I.T skills and a fear that her age would be a barrier to finding employment.

As part of Paula’s support through the programme, she learnt a lot about confidentiality, equal opportunities and GDPR policies, and what they mean in the workplace. Paula said that this had been extremely useful and benefited her in the interview. In fact, she reports that she was complimented on her comprehensive answers!

Paula commented that her life has been enriched and she is really enjoying her new role.

*Name changed to respect the privacy of the individual

Archived stories

When Alice* started on the Working Homes project she hadn’t worked for three years and had just moved into her permanent home from temporary accommodation. She was keen to find office work, but lacked confidence and experience so thought volunteering would help. Our Development team were keen to take on a volunteer so the match was made, with Alice’s employment adviser supplying a laptop so she could do an online business administration course and practice her I.T skills. Alice started on tasks like updating spreadsheets and calling customers and developers, soon proving herself to be a valuable member of the team.

She had been volunteering for three months when a vacancy came up in the Customer Services team. Alice worked with her employment adviser on her CV and interview preparation and Customer Services really liked her positive attitude and offered her the role. However, the Development team didn’t want to lose Alice, so they also offered her a permanent role.

Not only has this had such a positive impact on her confidence but the job offers came at a time when her benefits were being reduced due to her eldest child leaving education. The fact that Alice had two job offers after such a short time is a huge achievement for her and a very proud moment for the Working Homes team.

*Name changed to respect the privacy of the individual

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