Stephanie joined Moving On Tyne & Wear as a participant in February 2019. Before this she had worked proudly as a radiographer at the NHS for 30 years only leaving due to health-related reasons.
She self-referred onto the programme to keep herself busy and to gain guidance and support in finding suitable employment. At first she found it difficult to think of a job she’d like to pursue, and felt anxious about starting on a new career path after working in the same role for so many years.
Her Moving On Tyne & Wear Navigator, Julie, encouraged her to join a Self-Awareness programme, which focused on self-motivation, followed by a course on Health and Wellbeing. These courses were a reason for Stephanie to get out of the house and make new friends, and as her confidence grew she started exercising her dog by going along to the community walk every week which got her used to socialising and communicating with others again.
Stephanie’s main fear was that not having anything to do would negatively impact her mental health and being encouraged by Julie to participate in training courses helped to boost her confidence and self-esteem. She enrolled onto two further courses with Kind Mind Recovery Community, attended some digital inclusion computer drop-in sessions with Age Concern Tyneside South (ACTS) to improve her IT skills and participated in some Mindfulness sessions with WHIST (Women’s Health in South Tyneside). As time went on, her self-belief began to grow, but she still struggled to recognise the transferable skills and qualities that she had.
Julie then began working with Stephanie to create her first CV (she had never needed one throughout her 30 year career with the NHS) and Stephanie began to realise she had a number of valuable skills that could be applied to different areas of work. This was a turning point and she was able to look forward and began to see herself as capable of finding a job.
Stephanie said: “The help and support I received from Julie and the courses I did were so beneficial for my mind and helped me move towards a new work environment”
Stephanie attended a mock interview with one of Moving On Tyne & Wear’s Employer Engagement Officers and attended the Moving On Tyne & Wear Job Club where some vacancies with Age UK were found that Julie believed would be perfect for her.
Stephanie’s previous employment and life experiences were so interesting they were used to help construct a personal statement for the application. Stephanie’s application was successful, and she was invited to interview. Julie referred her to Smart Works in Newcastle to help with some interview clothes, and despite her nerves, Stephanie’s professionalism, enthusiasm and excitement shone through.
Stephanie was successful at interview and was offered a job. Not the one she had originally applied for, but Age UK recognised her qualities and offered her a job as a support worker for people suffering from dementia. The part-time position would allow Stephanie to continue with her Mindfulness sessions and pursue her other interests.
The boost in Stephanie’s confidence has been remarkable and she now feels, as everyone at Moving On Tyne & Wear do, that she still has something to offer. Stephanie is still employed with Age UK today, has continued to work throughout the recent pandemic and is an asset to the team.
“Thank you again for your help. Every day in my new job is different; the staff are lovely, and I feel I’m still learning about dementia which keeps the job interesting and keeps my brain moving!”
Moving On Tyne & Wear is a local employability programme who have been helping people aged 18 or over 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. It is joint funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund and a 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 participants receive the best possible care and support.