One of the best ways to describe the impacts of our Ready for Work programme is to share a story from a participant. This is Jennifer’s story:
Jennifer moved out of the family home after a breakdown in her relationship with her mother. She contacted Focus Ireland and after a period in a homeless hostel was linked with the Stepping Stone Charity who provided her with independent accommodation in the city centre.
She was then referred to Ready for Work by her support worker. The client immediately impressed us as being independent, capable and a strong communicator; she also had a clear career goal of becoming a childcare worker.
The Ready for Work team sourced a placement in a small family-run childcare business, this being the first time they participated in Ready for Work.
Jennifer said she really enjoyed this work experience and it confirmed for her that childcare is what she’d like to pursue….Here is the feedback she received from the crèche manager:
“I think Jennifer would make an excellent childcare worker. It was a pleasure to have her work with us. Jennifer worked at the same level as my Staff and it was very difficult to believe that she was just on work experience. She used her own initiative but was also a great team player. Whereas she followed instruction at all times, you could rely on her to respond to the needs of children in her care. Jennifer’s friendly manner and ability to listen and her willingness to learn will be a great advantage to her whatever career path she may choose.
I hope she chooses Childcare as she would be a great asset to any Creche.”
Jennifer is now in steady employment with her placement provider and considering taking up further education and training in this field.
The best way to describe the impacts of our EPIC programme is to hear from one of our clients. Here’s Monika’s story:
Monika is in her late 20s and is highly educated. When she came to Ireland seven years ago she held a Degree and a Masters in Marketing and Media from her home country.
When Monika arrived in Ireland her priority was to find a job so that she could support herself and improve her English.
This meant putting thoughts of pursuing her career in marketing and media on hold and accepting the first jobs which she was offered which included working as a waitress in the hospitality sector, followed by working in customer service in a bank for three years.
Monika then had an accident in which she was seriously injured. She had to leave her job and went on Disability Allowance while she recovered, which took two years. By the time she was physically able to work again, employers were not calling her for interview due to the two year gap in her CV.
As she unsuccessfully tried to find work her self-esteem became badly affected. She thought about going back to college to get practical training to improve her chances of getting a job, but as her only income was from Disability Allowance she didn’t have the money to pay for a course, and being on Disability Allowance meant she wasn’t entitled to access the same services as people on Job Seeker’s Allowance, such as free courses with FÁS or the VEC, or government schemes such as the work placement programme.
Monika felt trapped and helpless and didn’t know where to turn for help. She realised how unfamiliar she was with how things work in Ireland, and as a consequence she started to feel very low and isolated. She began to feel hopeless about her prospects of escaping unemployment, and this led to her becoming depressed.
She came to EPIC after seeing an advertisement about the programme in a community newspaper.
The focus of the one to one sessions with Monika was on improving her self-esteem and helping her to build a plan of action. Her Training & Employment Officer (TEO) used one to one counselling support, personality testing and coaching to help Monika to develop insight into her own strengths and abilities.
Her TEO also linked her in with a personal development course for women in Dublin’s city centre. As well as support from her TEO, Monika received professional counselling support and advice about her rights and entitlements in Ireland from EPIC’s social support officer.
As a result of these interventions Monika’s confidence increased. She decided that she wanted to work in Marketing, her original career plan, and developed a new step by step plan to achieve this goal. She started volunteering in an office in order to have up to date Irish work experience on her CV, to develop her skills, and to enable her to get a reference from a company in her sector of interest.
She now has a job working in marketing with a multinational company and has just passed her probation period successfully.