Delilah joined the GRoW Programme in January 2021 after an abusive relationship had left her unemployed and as a single parent. Delilah now has three jobs, working as a SMSA and providing wraparound support as a Breakfast Club and After School worker.
Delilah said “When I first came to GRoW I was highly anxious and desperate to find a job. I had left an abusive relationship 6 months before the first Covid lockdown and became a single parent to my four year old son. I had been working as a Passenger Services Assistant at Heathrow, where I had worked for 13 years but my son was severely affected by the domestic abuse he had witnessed and I was no longer able to leave him with professional childcare or anyone else for that matter. My employer did not allow me the flexibility I needed to be able to support my son and so I had no choice other than to reluctantly resign from my job. I had to go on to Universal Credit but after a period of time, as I was a European Citizen, I was told by my work coach that I had to find a job within three months or my benefits payments would stop. It was quite a harrowing time for me and I was feeling very pressurised.
I came across a website for Heathrow employees who had been made redundant and when I spoke with them they put me in touch with Belina GRoW. I had no idea what to expect, what level of commitment was required and what it would entail but I signed up anyway and quickly found that they could show me lots of opportunities.
I had been in the Aviation industry for a long time and initially it was quite hard for me to let go of that field. However, my son needed a lot of support and I knew I needed a job that would revolve around my parental responsibilities and so I came to the conclusion that working in a school would be the best option for me. My problem was that I had no experience of working with children and when I applied for jobs in schools, despite having lots of customer services experience, I kept being rejected.
I knew I had to do more if I wanted to work in a school and so I found a face to face course that I could do during school hours called ‘Supporting to work in schools’ which was offered by the Learning Curve Group and I also did a First Aid course that was offered by GRoW.
I went on CV Workshop with Sonia who was so supportive and just brilliant. She helped me open my eyes to the skills I had such as the different languages I speak and she also helped me improve my knowledge of Microsoft Excel – she really went above and beyond.
Coming from a background which was totally different to working with children, initially when potential employers asked me whether I had any experience with children I told them no. It took a while for me to realise that as a mother I have lots of experience with children. I also helped children in my previous job when they were travelling alone and I had looked after my friends’ children too. Once I realised this I decided I would be more clever!
I applied for some school jobs via my local Council’s website and got two interviews on the same day, 15 minutes apart in two different towns, I opted for the one who telephoned me first and was the easiest commute, went for the interview and was offered the job as an SMSA. I started the job in January this year and then in March I found a job at a Breakfast Club and in June I started at their After School Club too. It is just across the road from me and my son comes with me which means I don’t need childcare and can spend more time with him which is perfect.
For me, being part of GRoW has been a combination of personal growth and functioning as a single parent as well as finding my way back into employment in a way that wouldn’t affect my son too much. Throughout my time on the Programme I was supported by Chantelle who was my Adviser. She was always there for me as a shoulder to cry on, even if it wasn’t work related, I could confide in her and she would guide me in the right direction.
The best thing about GRoW is that I never felt there was ever any pressure. You grow at your own pace and that was what impressed me most. Nobody forces you to do anything you are just introduced to many opportunities and it is up to you to pick up and go forward with what interests you. It has all worked out so positively for me and I am looking forward to the future now, developing more skills through learning and continuing to support my son.