Sadie's story

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Sadie Shoesmith, 24, is a Bar Tender at The Mail Coach, a mixed and gay community pub in Fleet Street, Swindon.

Sadie started at The Mail Coach on a traineeship in September 2015 and has recently been offered permanent employment

Sophie has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She lives in supported accommodation near old town.

Pluss delivers Work Choice, the Department for Work and Pensions specialist disability employment programme. Work Choice receives funding from the European Social Fund for customers referred to the programme prior to 25th April 2017.

Sadie’s words

“I clear up, hoover, wipe down and open up. I work behind the bar, serve and make a good atmosphere.

“I like getting on with customers and getting to know people. I have good communication skills, I think I can bring peoples personalities out and make sure everyone is welcome. We are a small team; they support me and give me advice.

“I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which means I have real ups and downs. My confidence sometimes knocks me down. I had no self belief before I was in work and although I was there for other people, I was never there for myself. I was out of work for over a year.

“I always felt that people thought I was useless because I was out of work. I am a bubbly person and didn’t try to let it bring me down but I was worried what people thought of me. I wasn’t in a good place but I never told anyone as I didn’t want people to think that I was a problem.

“I did have another job briefly but it didn’t work out. Before this I had only ever had a paper round and not a proper, decent job.

“When I came to Pluss, I attended courses and my Job Broker, Paul, was amazing; he really helped boost me up. I did employability courses, communications skills, confidence building, interview skills, team building and they helped update my CV.

“Because I felt more confident, I found this job and applied. Paul then spoke to Marc, the Manager at the Mail Coach, and told them about Pluss and the traineeship. Marc was very supportive and gave me a chance; I think he saw I had it in me.

“There were a few issues initially but Pluss put a job coach with me. They helped me to learn my way in the bar, with stock and cleaning. We put together a checklist so I knew what I had to do. I was also shown how to deal with money and to change the barrels and gas cylinders. Now I am picking up the pace a bit more.

“When I was offered the job I was absolutely ecstatic; I was dumbstruck and relieved. I expected it to be a no. I got congratulations cards from my family.

“Now it means I’m not stuck in the house all day. I have more money in my pocket to do the things I want to do. I didn’t want to be portrayed as on benefits. I wanted to work hard and earn my own money.

“I am a lot happier too; my confidence and overall self belief has improved.

“Marc has given me a fantastic opportunity and I am so grateful. I wanted to prove that I can do it. Now I can see that I am not a waste of space and that I do a good job. This has been such a good experience and I am happy on the inside.”

Marc Schofield, Manager of The Mail Coach pub

“Sadie’s confidence has really started to shine through. She is much more confident, gets on with customers well and uses her initiative.

“When I am recruiting, I look for people who are bubbly, chatty and ideally have a bit of bar experience. Sadie had some experience but her confidence wasn’t quite there. Sadie told me she had a disability, I didn’t dig but I felt that we needed to give her a chance. I could tell there was something there that we could bring out.

“Sadie told me about Pluss and I contacted Paul. She started on a traineeship which worked out well for both sides. It was a good stepping stone for Sadie and it also meant that we had nothing to lose by giving it a go. It also gave us the chance to bring out what we saw in Sadie and gave her the opportunity to develop her skills.

“We received a lot of support from Pluss. They would come in and help smooth out any difficulties, particularly as Sadie would take any advice very personally as her confidence was so low. A job coach also helped Sadie learn the job and they came in to review regularly. They’ve been really good.

“It’s great that there is a programme out there to help people back into work. Whatever is holding you back in life, everyone deserves a chance and people should be given the opportunity. There are so many people out there who have skills like Sadie, and who just need a bit of time and support.

“Employers need to look past the disability and realise what people can bring to their company. There may be ups and downs along the way – you always get that – but it’s important to give the person a chance.”