Jacqueline was referred to GRoW after applying for Universal Credit when she lost her job during the first lockdown in March 2020 and is now about to start a new job as part of the NHS Vaccination Programme.
Jacqueline said “I had been working at the Airport for 15 years as a Make up Artist but when the pandemic started I felt it was too risky to continue working there as I am a single parent and was worried what would happen to my son if were to catch the virus. For the first time in my life I had to claim benefits and was feeling very low. I had been looking for work but most of the jobs I was finding were full time positions which I could not commit to because there would be nobody to look after my son.
Having been in work for so long it had been many years since I had taken part in an interview or even had to work on my CV, it was quite scary really and I was lacking in confidence. My Universal Credit Support Worker suggested I contact GRoW as they specialise in supporting single parents into work. As soon as I contacted GRoW I felt more at ease – Tosin called to introduce herself to me as my Adviser and to find out what support I needed and she put me in touch with Sonia who helped me to improve my CV. They were both so supportive and helped me look at the kind of jobs that are available and how to apply for them.
When the NHS Mass Vaccination Programme was launched I was interested straight away. Until then most of the jobs during the pandemic had been cleaning jobs or supermarket cashier jobs. There were jobs available in schools but I didn’t have the relevant qualifications. The NHS jobs are Zero hours contracts which offers the flexibility I need. I felt it was such a great opportunity and I was determined I would get a job on the programme.
GRoW helped me apply for a Vaccinator job and also signed me up to a larger support group with other GRoW participants who were applying for the NHS jobs. Together we supported each other, helping each other remotely with our applications and giving each other advice. Liz supervised our correspondence to help us ensure we were doing everything right to maximise our chances of securing a job. It was great to be part of this support network as we are all ladies living in similar circumstances and all needing the same kind of help and guidance. No matter what time of day, even if it was the weekend, the support was always there, it really helped boost my confidence being part of a network all helping each other.
It can be quite difficult when you are a single mum; you often feel left out because you can’t do full time work, the hours are too difficult to arrange around your child. So many jobs make you choose between earning money and raising your children. GRoW understand the challenges and support women to find part time work or to even set up your own business so you can work hours that suit you. I feel that GRoW really listen and understand and help you to feel included.
I completed the NHS E-Learning guides which taught me all about what was required of an NHS Worker and I have also completed the face to face training which explained what I would need to do on a day to day basis and how the vaccination process works on the frontline. It was really interesting and I feel very confident about it. I have received confirmation of my job offer now and am just waiting for a start date but I would still like to keep in contact with the other participants I have met through GRoW as I would like to be able to continue to help other ladies with advice and support if I can.”