Cristina joined the GRoW Programme in August as an In-Work Progression client. Despite being a single parent to her 5 year old son and speaking English as a third language, Cristina has managed to find and pay for childcare, is currently studying Business Management at Solent University and has recently increased her working hours and hourly pay.
Cristina said “It’s really important to me that I create something better for my family’s future. I really wanted to progress and do better and so when my son started school in September I set about thinking about how I could improve my earnings.
I had been working for Pret-a-Manger since 2016 but when the pandemic hit I was one of 1000 people who were unfortunately made redundant. I found a job soon after working in a warehouse which paid a good hourly rate but it was only temporary and I went a few months unemployed until my former manager at Pret called to tell me they were rehiring and asked me to go back as a Barista.
As my son started school in September and my University course is on holiday now until February it came as a good time for me as I knew I would have the opportunity to work longer hours if I could arrange for suitable childcare. My boss offered to increase my salary from £8.91 an hour to £9.88 and changed my work shift from part-time to full time 8.15am to 5.15pm Monday to Friday. The hours are ideal for me as I have time to take my son to Breakfast Club in the morning and pick him up from After School Club at the end of the day.
I am happy working as a Barista especially now I am earning a higher salary. I am always looking to the future though which is why I am studying at Solent University in Farringdon doing a Business Management Model. I am hoping that when my son is a little older I can get a job in an office, maybe starting as a Receptionist and working my way up little by little through a company. I do have quite a lot of business experience already as I had my own grocery shop in Spain where I lived for 11 years prior to coming to the UK. I have completed two years of the course so far and have two years left until I finish.
In the meantime I am hoping to continue to get support from the GRoW team so I can continue to learn as you never know what new opportunities are around the corner and what doors can open for you!”
Talking about Cristina’s journey with GRoW, her Adviser Maria Beuca said “I believe Cristina is proof to all of us that perseverance, hard work and not giving up when life gets hard really does pay off and I hope she inspires other mothers in our programme to make the best out of their situations.”