In August we published a case study with Billie-Jo who was looking for work after being made redundant from her hospitality job, a sector she had worked in for more than 20 years. After receiving support from GRoW and fully utilising all we have to offer, Billie-Jo has now found a full-time job as a Catering Assistant.
Billie-Jo said “I am so pleased to be able to say I am starting a new full time job on Monday as a Catering Assistant with Chartwells who supply Brunel University. I have been out of work since losing my hospitality job at Heathrow last year and in many ways life has been a struggle though I have always tried to remain positive. I actually hadn’t realised how well I had done and how much I had actually achieved until I attended Sonia’s CV and Interview Workshops and I was encouraged to dig deep and really look at myself. It was quite an eye opener and was actually very empowering! Throughout the pandemic, after losing my job, my life had been mainly focused on homeschooling my twin daughters and trying to keep a roof over our heads, juggling bills and trying not to get into debt or falling behind with my mortgage payments. It wasn’t until I did the CV Workshop and was made to look at my skills and achievements that it made me realise exactly how well I had done. I started to look at myself in a different way and started to appreciate the little things. I am so lucky to still have my home and instead of feeling like I had been going under I felt I was doing a great job and it was a big confidence booster.
Since we last spoke in the Summer I have attended many workshops through GRoW such as the Preparing to Work in Schools Programme and GRoW Bootcamp as well as completing the First Aid course that GRoW introduced me to and the CV and Interview Workshops. I have also completed a Mental Health in the Workplace course which I did privately and am currently doing a Challenging Behaviour in Children and Teens course which is quite complex but extremely interesting and I am learning so much. All of these courses have made such a difference to my life and it is a priority for me now to continue building my learning, skills and qualifications. I am still working towards doing the Level 1 and Level 2 Teaching Assistant courses so that I can achieve my goal of working in a school in the future.
For now though I am really happy about starting my new job in Catering. It is ideal for me as the hours are 8am-4pm each day which fits well with my daughters schooling and my employer will be giving me full training including Food Hygiene and Health and Safety.
Sonia’s Interview Workshop was absolutely crucial in helping me get the job as without it I know the interview would not have gone so well. I hadn’t had an interview in over 20 years and was completely unprepared. I attended the Interview Workshop the week before and then Sonia held a one to one session with me which made all the difference. The one-to one interview session with Sonia is a very tailored service. She sent me questions in advance of the session so I could think about the answers but when Sonia asked me to describe myself and I responded she said “No No!”. It hadn’t occurred to me that I had been describing myself on a personal level rather than a professional level. I could see that my communication skills had very much broken down. I wasn’t good at speaking about myself and had actually forgotten who I was. For so long everything had been focused on my children and I had lost touch with who I was. I had just been fighting to keep my family’s life on track and was feeling quite deflated. The one-to-one interview really broke down those barriers and got me to take a good look at myself on both a personal and professional level. It was the kickstart that I needed but it was done in a very respectful and loving way. Sonia gave me so many questions and helped me give my answers in a different way – with a beginning, middle and end which is what a prospective employer wants to hear. She made me think about my own hobbies and interests, things I had forgotten about as I had adopted my children’s interests as my own for so long.
When I had the interview with Chartwell a few days later I felt Sonia had unlocked my communication skills, I felt so much more confident. I also felt so much more prepared and there was no nervousness on my part. When the interviewer asked me about my strengths and weaknesses I answered her honestly and confidently and the interview felt quite natural. If it hadn’t been for the Interview preparation I know I would have clammed up and focused on the wrong things.
Belina GRoW provide so much value. They tap into your self esteem and build your confidence and they get you to talk about you – not your kids – you as a person. They really get you to dig deep and ask you what it is that you want for yourself, what is going to make you feel good about yourself, get up in the morning and fight! Being on the programme made me really look at myself and gave me the confidence to keep going knowing that someone was there who was sincere about me and wanted only the best for me.
I am going to carry on with my studying because after the Challenging Behaviour course it will lead me into a Mental Health First Aid course in Children and Teens and then I will work towards the Level 1 and 2 Teaching Assistant courses and pursue this route as a way of getting into working in schools in a few years time”.