Everyone has their own reason

Parents tell Belina’s Mercedes Grant that they work for lots of reasons:

Part of my job is to follow up with parents after a course so I get to hear what they are saying about why they are working.

To be better off

‘Staying on benefits was a one way trip on the down escalator. Rising housing costs, benefits cap, freeze on benefits payments and increases in the cost of living make life on benefits harder each year.’
‘I don’t just want a job I want a career’
‘I don’t think about what I will earn tomorrow – I think about what I will earn ten years down the line’

My children

‘My kids want me to be happy and to do something that makes me happy.’
‘My daughter said, I like it when you work, your happier, and you smile more.’
‘My son said – I love it when you go to work – it gets you out of my hair.’
‘I want to be a role model for my children.’
“I feel like I have dreams and aspirations, so that my daughter will.’

I want to be my own person

‘When I am at home I am a mum, or a daughter, and I used to be a wife. What I want is to be me –to be the me that I am to myself. And I can do that at work.’
‘Honestly, I just want to have a conversation that is not about children’
‘I am fed up with being known as Jaimie’s mum. Why can’t I be Sarah?

Kelly is a lone mum who attended the GRoW programme, she has two young children, one of whom is on the Autistic Spectrum. Kelly has recently gone back to work after 7 years away from the workplace.

Kelly said “I had worked as a Nursery Nurse previously and have a Childcare Certificate.  I was keen to get back to work after having my children and was signed up with the Job Centre for 8 years.  Despite attending job fairs and going on courses though I just couldn’t find the right work as I was either overqualified for the jobs they were sending me for or I didn’t fit the criteria for their specialist programmes.

“I went to the GRoW Programme around 9 months ago as they were running a session for parents with children who are on the autistic spectrum called “I want to work and my child has ASD” and it was a great experience.  You can feel quite lonely, especially as a single mum, when you have a child with autism.  I can sometimes feel I am judged by other people when I’m out and about with my son and that people just don’t understand the challenges parents like myself face everyday.  With both my children at school I was starting to feel a little depressed and even though I wanted to work, I was concerned about how I could find a suitable position with the need to attend frequent medical appointments.

“The GRoW Programme’s ASD session really helped me.  The session was held at Hillingdon’s Botwell Green Library and it was a group session where I could meet other mums like me.  It was so good to just be able to relax around other people who were going through the same experiences as I was.

“During my time with GRoW I met up with Liz Sewell regularly for a coffee and we worked on my CV, sending it out to a few positions that looked interesting.  I downloaded a jobs app and rang up the positions that were advertising childcare related jobs that were within 30 minutes of my home.  I spoke to them and sent my cv direct, explaining that I wanted part-time work in term time only.  Eventually I managed to get two interviews, my first interviews in seven years!  I liked one position more than the other and fortunately they offered me the job.  My manager has a nephew with autism so he had a good understanding of the challenges I face which made me feel more secure and the working hours fit perfectly around my children. The position they had advertised was for lunch cover, term time only from 11.00am-2.00pn each day but they gave me an extra hour each day and also offered me a higher hourly rate.

“I started on 12th September and I’m settling in really well.  So many things have changed since I started work in 1998 and I’m not so confident with computers but I have already done some training, some of which is computer-based.  Everyday is different and I’m booked to do a First Aid Course later this month which I’m looking forward to.  I’m hoping that once my probationary period is over that I can apply to undertake more courses, especially around ASD and work towards gaining a qualification in that area.

“Liz still emails me regularly to catch up with how things are going. She’s been really helpful in giving me advice around Universal Credit and in ways to approach my employer when I broke my toe just before I was due to start work!  I am so grateful for her support and the confidence I have gained from our positive chats has given me a boost to “go out & get them” so to speak.  I’m really enjoying being back at work and there’s lots of flexibility and opportunities for career progression in the future.”

Harpeet wanted a job but had been out of the workplace for 8 years and needed help to get started.  She met an Adviser from Ealing Council who was running a job fair at her daughter’s school and they referred her to the GRoW Programme run by Liz Sewell at Belina Consulting and is funded by the European Social Fund.

Harpreet said “I had been out of a job for 8 years and I didn’t know where to start.  I had worked in retail in the past but everything had changed. Suddenly everything was online and I just didn’t know where to start.

“When I had my first meeting with Liz I didn’t really know what type of job I would be able to apply for and I thought it would be difficult to find work as I had been out of the workplace for quite some time. The GRoW Programme really helped me with my confidence at that time and helped me see that I should raise my expectations and look for work where I could learn more and progress.  Liz showed me how to apply for jobs online and explained the types of jobs that would be most suitable for me. As soon as I got home I applied for two jobs.”

The GRoW Programme held a CV Workshop that Harpreet was invited to attend but she was unable to travel and so Belina’s Senior Facilitator, Mercedes Grant, visited Harpreet at her home instead.  “Mercedes came all the way to Ealing to work with me and go through all the points on my CV. She amended parts of my cv to better suit the jobs I was interested in applying for and she gave me training on how to apply online. She really helped with my motivation and confidence too and told me to keep on trying!  It gave me the kickstart I needed to get on with finding the right job and it was great to have her there for support”.

Harpreet was soon offered a job at Primark and was over the moon “I was in Tesco when they rang me and I was so pleased, I called Liz and she gave me so much positive confidence”.  Soon afterwards Liz sent some more suitable job vacancies through to Harpreet that offered more career prospects. “Even though I was pleased to be working at Primark I just thought ‘why not?’  I applied for a job as an Optical Assistant at Vision Express and soon afterwards received a call to say I had been offered an interview.  I’ve now been working there for 2 weeks and I’m really enjoying it.  I’m working 31 hours a week and It offers lots of potential for me to grow and move forward as they are going to give me full training.  My daughter and my husband are so proud of me and my husband even says he is so pleased with the advice Liz has given me. I can call her any time for advice and it’s been a really good experience”.

Belina Consulting Director Liz Sewell said “I am delighted that we were able to help Harpreet successfully find not one job, but two jobs and that she gained so much confidence through our GRoW programme. I wish her every success in her new role and for whatever she looks to achieve in the future.

Lauren Crawford started the GRoW Programme in June and begins her new career in a Special Needs College in September.
Lauren said “I really didn’t know what to expect when I attended my first GRoW session.  I was a bit apprehensive but I needn’t have worried, it was great!  It was really empowering and I made lots of new friends.  By the second session my confidence had grown so much as I had learned new interview skills and the environment was so positive.
“I started applying for jobs straight away; jobs I probably never would have applied for in the past but I just felt ‘why not give it a go?’  In no time at all I was offered an interview for a great job as a Teaching Assistant at my local college working with people with additional needs and autism.  Even though I hadn’t any direct experience of working with people with special needs I really felt that the experience I had gained in the past in caring roles had taught me a great deal about person-centred approaches and the interview skills I had picked up gave me the courage to go for it.
“It was while I was at a GRoW Programme event that Liz Sewell was running for mums and kids that I received the phone call I was waiting for.  I was over the moon when I was told the news that I had got the job, in fact I was so overwhelmed I started crying!  Liz was so excited as she knew how important it was for me.  She’d been encouraging me all the way, even giving me advice on the outfit I wore to the interview.
“I was literally someone who suffered from anxiety and low confidence but the GRoW Programme has been such a positive experience for me.  I will be receiving lots of training and a full induction programme when I start my new job in September and I can’t wait to start.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.