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Kirsten finds a job after five-year struggle with anxiety

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Kirsten* joined the Fair Start Scotland service in April 2023 after being unemployed for five years. She had experience in retail and the care sector, however made the decision to leave work due to her severe anxiety which had massively impacted her life. 

Kirsten was introduced to her Key Worker, Gillian Smith, who was there to help her rebuild her confidence and find the right career path. They began by creating a support journey together to break the process down and make it less daunting for Kirsten. 

Gillian organised for Kirsten to attend a two-week employability support programme, where she would learn more about the job market and how her skills might fit into different sectors. However, after two days Kirsten was unable to continue the programme due to the environment heightening her anxiety. 

To keep Kirsten on track and avoid her anxiety impacting her further, Gillian suggested a confidence building session with our Community Partnership Network member, Dress for Success Scotland, who aim to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and development tools. 

At their confidence building session Kirsten was given the opportunity to explore how clothing can affect her confidence and received advice about how to tackle her anxiety in new environments. The session was a one-to-one experience, where Kirsten was encouraged to identify what triggered her anxiety and what she could do to maximise her confidence. 

After being made to feel safe and secure at her session, Kirsten applied to volunteer for the charity. She volunteered with them for six months, gaining confidence and self-belief by proving to herself that she could learn new skills and face her anxiety. 

Kirsten was interested in re-entering the care sector as her time volunteering had helped her remember how much she enjoyed helping people. After applying for roles with local employers, Gillian organised for Kirsten to attend an interview preparation session where she was taught about common questions and given a mock interview to ensure she was job ready. 

In January 2024, Kirsten successfully interviewed for a Care Support Assistant position with a local employer and began working again. 

Reflecting on the support she received, Kirsten said: “Thank you. Remploy are great, and I’m very appreciative of the support I’ve been given.”  

*Name anonymised at participant’s request 

21 March, 2024