Helping Angela Succeed

Angela*, a young lady in her early 20’s from the Elgin area began her Fair Start Scotland journey in September 2020. 

She came to us with low confidence and self-esteem, no work experience and a number of daily caring responsibilities, involving her parents. All of that alone could be overwhelming for anyone, butthere were other things to overcome as well including not having very positive experiences during her school life and initially finding working on the programme and with her Job Center Plus work coach overwhelming. All this as well as she herself having a daily battle with her own mental health and anxiety. Our priority was to ensure that Angela knew that the programme was her programme, that we could work at her pace and that the key worker was there to help, support and provide guidance throughout the whole process. 
The journey began with a focus on Angela’s employability skills, producing her CV and a cover letter. She believed that because of her lack of work experience we would not have enough information to add to a CV, but the wealth of experience she has caring for her parent’s, particularly her mother’s needs, some voluntary work within a community garden and her own interests and hobbies can highlight the transferrable skills she has acquired for over the years. 

I felt it was important that I assisted Angela in improving her confidence and self-esteem, so encouragement and support was provided throughout each appointment whether that was in constructing her CV, or giving her the time and space to decide the next step in her programme. 
Angela decided to start a numeracy course to improve her math’s skills with the hopes of taking the NAT 5 math’s exam in the future. This gave her time and space away from responsibilities to do something for herself and for her future. Angela is really enjoying this course and her tutor believes she may even be capable enough to go onto the Higher’s course, by passing the NAT 5 qualification altogether. 
During the process of completing her CV and cover letter, discussions began around areas of work to focus job searches on. Angela did not feel ready for a work environment but expressed her interest in volunteering, so we started to look into volunteer opportunities within the local area. We discussed her interests further and what types of work she wanted to do. Her passion for animals and their welfare as well as wanting to enter a retail environment was a big part in her applying for a position with PDSA. 

Although a long process with uncertainties along the way, her application was chosen for an interview and taster day. Obvious initial worry and anxieties about this were overcome and her improving confidence enabled her to attend the interview and subsequent taster day. She stated that thoroughly enjoyed the experience and hoped that she would be successful. 

On calling Angela after the taster day she was unsure of the outcome and felt anxious and deflated because she had not heard from them. I was there to try and assist her by talking through what happened on the day and what was said. She mentioned that they had requested references for her but had not told her she was successful. I tried to explain to her that there is promise in this as generally references are not sought unless you were successful in gaining the position, this hopefully helped her to feel more positive about the situation. 
On speaking to her later in the week, Angela was so happy and pleased to say that she had been given the volunteer 
position and that she starts on Friday 4th December 2020.