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Courtney’s caring experience helps with new role

23 May 2019

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From the age of 15, Courtney McGowan from Larkhall in South Lanarkshire, assumed a full-time caring role for her partner who had cystic fibrosis. Sadly, he died in 2018. 
 
With her previous experience in care, 18 year old Courtney decided she wanted to get into work so she sought help from Remploy, the leading disability, employment and skills specialist and now has a new role as an ​Assistant Support Worker at Action For Children’s ‘North Lanarkshire Young Carers’ project, based in Motherwell​. 

The charity’s ‘North Lanarkshire Young Carers’ project has operated in the region since 1995. The service works with young people who provide care and support to family members who may have a range of needs, including disability and mental health. It helps them by safeguarding their health and wellbeing, supporting them with education, training and employment as well as increasing their access to leisure and social opportunities.
 
Remploy spoke to Courtney about Fair Start Scotland, the devolved Scottish Government employment support service which ​helps people to find the right job that meets their needs and is flexible enough for their circumstances. After hearing about the benefits of Fair Start Scotland and how the service could help her, Courtney was keen to participate. 
 
She said: “When I started, my confidence was at an all time low but I was made to feel at home and the support I received was really personal to me.” 
 
Working with her Remploy Key Worker, Moira Jack, they looked at possible ways to increase her job prospects and improve her self-esteem. Moira, said: “Courtney was a pleasure to work with and I enjoyed giving her the helping hand she needed. We knew with a bit of guidance she could succeed in anything she wanted to do.” 
 
After a few meetings with her Key Worker, Courtney was referred to specialist support with Action for Children who Remploy work alongside. Action for Children are ​a charity committed to helping vulnerable children and young people, and their families, throughout the UK. 

Courtney took part in a Positive Choices course which offers support to develop skills for training and employment opportunities. As part of the course, Courtney received help to manage her finances and develop some core skills to get ready for employment. Through the Positive Choices course she attained a Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) level 3 award in Health and Wellbeing. 
 
She said: “I could tell my confidence was gradually increasing. The course was very useful, I learned about myself and it really helped me on my journey into work - I also managed to add the SQA award to my credentials.” 
 
During her course, Courtney was informed about a position as an Assistant Support Worker at Action for Children, which she was very keen to apply for. After submitting her application she was successfully put forward for an interview, which she felt confident about as she was receiving support with interview skills and techniques to help her prepare. 

When Courtney heard that she was successful in her interview she was 'over the moon'. She said: “The preparation prior to my interview was instrumental in me securing this role. It really gave me confidence and belief I could make the job mine.” 

She added: “The Fair Start Scotland service was great, I was allowed to go at my own pace and all the decisions were mine to make. It has really made a huge difference to my life, I am delighted with this outcome and I am looking forward to helping people who need the extra bit of support, like I did. The whole experience was immense and it really helped spur me on to get this position.”  

Janet Back, Young Person's Practitioner at Action for Children said: “Courtney is doing great, as a result of her gaining this new role she has grown in confidence, has a clear focus and hopes to progress her career with us. She is enjoying working with other young people that have shared similar experiences. She is financially better off and has managed to get her car on the road which she can use when she is out visiting young people.”  
 
For more information about the Fair Start Scotland service visit ​www.mygov.scot/fairstart