Monika’s story

The best way to describe the impacts of our programmes 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.