"I feel happy and proud" - R's Story

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R was referred to Seetec Pluss and joined the Work and Health Programme in March 2019. She is now employed at a local nursery.

R’s work goal was to look for any role that would suit working around her two children. R had fled Syria with her husband and children and had settled in Plymouth initially. However, after becoming the victim of domestic abuse, she was moved to an emergency safe house. She was moved to the Torbay area and support was given to help her resettle with her two children.

R was referred to the Work and Health Programme to help look for work. Her main barriers were lack of childcare support in the area and R had never worked before in Syria let alone this country.

R has already started doing some volunteer work at a local community centre and was undertaking English lessons to work on improving her English. She was doing all that she could to try and help move forward in her search for work.

R met with her Change Coach at a local venue each week and had one-to-one support. Her two children, one of which was not yet school age, would also attend particularly during the holidays due to lack of childcare and her not feeling confident in leaving them.

Together they drafted a CV and cover letter, and one to-one-support was given with applications for R to complete. R expressed an interest in working with children but also had current catering experience from her volunteer work in the local café.

Her Change Coach set about contacting local schools in the area to enquire about any catering or lunchtime assistant posts and one of the local schools came back to her about a vacancy that had arisen in their school. The school was close to her home which meant she could easily get there with no issues.

Her Change Coach arranged an informal tour of the school and a meeting with the headmaster to see what she thought of it. It was evident from this first meeting that she had made a good impression and she was encouraged to apply for the role.

One-to-one support was given at the interview and she was offered the role. Childcare provision was also sourced for her youngest daughter and after looking around at nurseries in the local area, a nursery was found that would accommodate the hours that she required to cover the lunchtime period.

Support was given to take R and her daughter to meet with the nursery manager. Together they went through all the requirements of care for her daughter, special dietary restrictions and personal information. One-to-one support was also given to complete the online DBS form which was a little tricky due to R not being a British citizen. Security checks needed to be completed from Syria which again complicated her application slightly.

Finally, she was given the go-ahead and she has now started work! This has been a massive achievement both for Seetec Pluss and for R. Seetec Pluss have funded the first month's bus pass for R to get her children to nursery and school, and allow her to get to work on time. Seetec Pluss also helped to fund interview and work clothing for her to wear as she did not have the funds to do so.

This is her journey in her own words...

"I don't have a disability though I have barriers to employment. I am originally from Syria so English is not my first language and I have had to move around a lot due to my personal situation. I am a lone parent with two young children. I've been carrying out volunteer work in the local area to help with my English and gain some experience.

"I didn't know how to search for work, no one was helping me and I have never worked before, even when I lived in Syria. I was able to sew, that that was all I could do, I felt scared and stuck.

"Seetec Pluss taught me how to job search, get a new CV, complete applications and they spoke to employers for me. They would go to interviews, looked at nurseries and helped also with interview clothes. I am now in paid employment.

"I feel happy and proud, I was so happy I could not believe that I had been offered my first job. I am very excited!"

The Work and Health Programme is co-financed by the European Social Fund. Names and photos have been changed.