Milda is a domestic abuse survivor and after moving back into the community following a brief stay at a women’s refuge and living on Universal Credit, she was referred to GRoW from her local jobcentre so she could take steps back to work after a six year break. Milna is now working in a local school, enjoying life and looking forward to future.
Milda said; “When I first joined GRoW I was trying hard to get back on my feet. I had been through a very difficult time and wasn’t feeling very confident or motivated but I knew that finding a job would be a positive step. The last time I had worked was in 2016 before I had my son and I was working in a warehouse. I didn’t have much work experience and didn’t really know where to start. Added to that, I was going through the long process of having my son diagnosed with autism and so I wasn’t sure about the realities of being able to find a job that would fit around his needs. I was worried about how I would use Childcare or an After School Club or Holiday Club as I knew he would really struggle to engage with these.
What GRoW really did for me was help me to find a sense of direction. I knew that I wanted a job where I was making a difference and helping people and they gave me ideas of what I could do and how I could find a job that would fit around my son. They suggested I take part in the GRoW Bootcamp so I could find out about all the courses and workshops that were available to me through GRoW and it really helped me see the opportunities ahead. I applied for a course at a local college called ‘Gateway to Wellbeing’ and at the same time I took part in the different GRoW events. Taking part in these courses helped me to come to the decision that I wanted to work in a school. I applied for a ‘Preparing to Work in Schools’ course at my local college and attended the GRoW CV workshop and Interview workshops with Sonia who was incredibly helpful.
I started looking for school jobs and after I told my Jobcentre Work Coach what my plans were she called me one day to tell me about a job event that I could take part in where they had school job vacancies available and I was invited for an interview for a Classroom Assistant role in a Special Educational Needs School. Sonia did a fantastic job of helping me to prepare. She helped me get my CV ship-shape and did a mock interview with me where she asked me lots of questions and gave me examples of answers I could give. When the day of the interview came the circumstances were dreadful! It was half-term and so I had to take my son along with me, I had an awful cold and so did my son. Despite this, because of all the work Sonia had done to prepare me, I felt so comfortable and confident. I couldn’t have been any more prepared and I really felt I knew what to say which was an amazing help. I used my new CV, went in there and gave it all I had and they offered me the job!
The job ticks all the boxes for me. I am working with children with complex special needs, term-time only. It is very close to my son’s school so I can pick him up without the need for childcare too.
Even though I don’t have any relevant work experience, I am a mother and I have an autistic child and therefore have lived experience. I know I can really add value to the role and I can also learn techniques to help my son too. My employer has been very flexible, they have allowed me to choose the days I work and to continue with my Preparing to Work in Schools College course too.
I am now in my fourth week at work and I am absolutely loving it. I so enjoy providing support to the children and the hours fit perfectly with my son. I am getting to understand the different children’s disability needs and it is such a learning experience that is so rewarding. I feel that this is the right job for me and it is definitely where my future lies.
My experience of suffering domestic abuse had left me with low confidence but GRoW changed that for me. They helped me to feel more confident and self-motivated and gave me the courage to believe in myself. Being part of GRoW helped me get back into the world and see that it’s nowhere near as frightening as I had imagined. Being able to just meet people who are there to help you and not judge you is such a confidence boost and I thank Mercedes and the Belina GRoW Team for everything they have done for me.”