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Helen finds a new start at Turning Point Scotland

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When Helen, 41, didn’t get a place at college to complete her final year of a hairdressing course in April 2023, she was unsure what to do next.

As a single mother to four children, Helen, from Wishaw, was struggling to find a job when she contacted Remploy in August 2023. She joined the service looking for support to get her SIA badge after deciding that security would be a good career change.

Helen met her Key Worker, Fiona Whitefield, who worked with Helen to identify her barriers to employment and build a personalised support plan. Helen explained that she had a history with addiction and was struggling to feel confident about herself after not finishing her college course.

Fiona organised for Helen to attend development sessions where she was supported to rebuild her confidence and recognise her existing skills. Fiona also supported Helen through the SIA badge process.

To make sure Helen found the right company to work for, she attended one of our job fairs where there were several security companies alongside other local employers to provide her with further information.

Although Helen had been focusing on entering the security sector, Fiona encouraged her to engage with all the employers at the fair to build confidence and ensure that security was the right choice for her.

The job fair had been organised by our Regional Accounts Manager, Julie Dennis, who works with local employers to make sure they find the right candidates for their jobs. One of the employers that Julie has been working closely with is Turning Point Scotland (TPS) a leading social care developer and provider in North Lanarkshire who deliver community outreach programmes that support people struggling with homelessness, addiction, and health conditions.

George Nelson, a Service Coordinator for Turning Point Scotland, spoke to Helen at the job fair and explained their support services and available job opportunities.

Reflecting on her first interaction with George, Helen said: “When I started speaking to George, I just instantly got the feeling that this was my calling. Before I left, I was encouraged to apply for a position with them as a lead practitioner, which wasn’t something I’d ever thought about before but the team were so friendly, and I could tell they were interested in me and my personal experience with drugs and alcohol. I was very excited and nervous when I got an interview.”

George from TPS added: “From our initial interaction, I identified something in Helen, probably what we would describe as a raw potential. She was primarily attending the fair to secure employment as a steward but as she was enquiring about TPS, it appeared to strike a chord within her, and she became more and more interested in our work.

“Helen began to disclose some of her personal experience, and more importantly, some of the work she undertakes in caring for her family and members of the wider community. After hearing about her experiences, I encouraged Helen to apply for one of our vacancies.”

Fiona supported Helen with preparing for her interview by organising funding for Helen to get her birth certificate, marriage certificate and divorce papers she needed for an identity check and by practising interview questions to alleviate any nerves.

After a successful interview, Helen was offered the role of Lead Practitioner. To make sure that she could succeed in her role, Fiona provided Helen with a waterproof jacket and work boots and continued to support her through her two-week induction period.

Helen has now been working since October 2023 and is able to support her family whilst also supporting the local community. Helen explained: “I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Remploy, especially Fiona, as without her support I would have only been thinking about what I could do with my education, and not what skills I had from my personal experiences. Just like Remploy helped me, now I can go and help other people.”

Reflecting on Helen’s growth since joining Remploy, Fiona said: “I worked closely with Helen to help build her confidence and help her see that she was good enough. I think that getting this job has really proved to her that she can do anything if she puts her mind to it.”

George explained his hopes for Helen in the future: “I am hopeful that with further training alongside her enthusiasm, community spirit and experience, Helen will excel in her new role as a Lead Practitioner and will go on to be a real asset to TPS and the community.”

18 April, 2024