Finding the right job can be challenging for all of us, and for those of us with health or learning needs can be an almost impossible struggle – but help is out there.
Moving On Tyne & Wear is a local employability programme who have been helping people in Tyne & Wear that are unemployed and have a health barrier, disability, additional learning need or autism get into employment, training or volunteering since 2017.
They provide vital help for people to overcome the barriers that have prevented them from finding work, volunteer placements or getting training before.
The free and voluntary service provides bespoke one-to-one support from a team of experienced navigators, who help people to build on their strengths and aspirations and guide them towards taking realistic and manageable steps towards stable employment.
Anyone who is aged 18 or over and eligible to work in the UK, currently living in Tyne and Wear, unemployed and suffering from a mental or physical health issue, additional learning need, disability or autism can reach out to this invaluable service for support.
Emma came onto the Moving On Tyne & Wear programme at the end of 2018. At the time she suffered from high anxiety and depression, had extremely low self-confidence and low self-worth.
With two young children and a teenager to look after her life was busy and the kids had become her excuse not to do anything. She was stuck in an endless anxious cycle.
Emma was enrolled onto a self-awareness course and began to see things from a different perspective. She learnt more about herself and the world that she was creating around herself and family. As a result of her time on the programme Emma began to do things that took her out of her comfort zone, which made her feel more confident and she was able to see that when she did things differently things changed for the better.
Over the following weeks Emma continued to make positive and forward thinking changes and began to break down her anxiety cycle. It wasn’t long before she felt she was ready for the next step, to search for jobs on her own.
The next step…
Emma was not 100% sure what she wanted to do career wise but knew she wanted to help people as she has a very empathetic and nurturing nature. Her physical issues prevented her from working in care, and although she started to get interviews, she felt that the jobs she was going for were out of a necessity to work as opposed to something that she had an interest in.
In February 2019, a few months after leaving Moving On Tyne & Wear, Emma saw a job as a navigator for the South Tyneside area of the charity advertised. This was the same team that had helped her, and she knew immediately she wanted to apply.
She was shortlisted for interview by a panel and during the interview she talked passionately about her desire to help others and how she could draw on the experiences and knowledge she gained whilst she was on programme herself in order to help those who had the same issues as her. From a shortlist of four Emma was offered the job! A fantastic result for Emma who had come such a long way from where she was when she joined Moving On Tyne & Wear, and a fantastic result for Moving On Tyne & Wear who gained a passionate, loyal and dedicated new member of the team.
Emma began working for Moving On Tyne & Wear in the midst of the national lockdown, and although she has met all of her colleagues and participants virtually she hasn’t met them all in person yet. It’s an unusual situation but her new-found confidence and positive attitude have helped her take it all in her stride and she’s hit the ground running.
Her confidence and her self-esteem have gone from strength to strength and she has spoken openly about how her life has changed for the better. She’s now able to take responsibility and make quick decisions; this is a requirement of her role, but also now something that has enabled Emma to become more confident in herself, making her more assertive and able to take control of situations at home rather than just letting things happen.
Emma described herself as being ‘stuck’ when she started on the programme and now that she has been through the process and has got a job that she is passionate about she feels like she has got her freedom back.
She explained that she now feels like she ‘fits in somewhere’ and has said: “It’s great to have something that’s mine. You can be a mam and a wife, but you need something for yourself and this, for me, is it.”
“I couldn’t go back to how I was before this job. I feel like I’m living now, I was in such a dark place before Moving On Tyne & Wear. I have a purpose for myself and feel like I’m developing into an actual person again rather than just being a mam and a wife. I feel appreciated, I’m making differences to people’s lives after feeling useless for years.”
Emma is doing an amazing job at Moving On Tyne & Wear and as she builds on her skills and looks positively to the future she says she ‘won’t ever look back.’
Moving On Tyne & Wear is joint funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund and is part of the Building Better Opportunities programme. This nationwide initiative invests in local projects that tackle the root causes of poverty and promote social inclusion.
Moving On Tyne & Wear is led by Mental Health Concern and works closely with a number of charity partners from across the North East to ensure their participants receive the best possible care and support.