Shona's training with the right support

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Shona had been unemployed but had training and experience as a Phlebotomist and health care assistant (meaning she had experience of taking blood and worked with elderly in community).

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I was referred by the Job Centre as I was struggling to find someone to support me and help me get into work. The Job Centre were not helping, they kept asking questions, like, am I finding work but they were not helping me. I was not getting invited to interviews, as I had been promised interviews and it didn’t amount to anything. I was very stressed from not finding work and I had lost faith in myself. It was frustrating for me, very annoying. There was no help until one day I asked if there was support from other organisations as there used to be and one of the work coaches mentioned Twining Enterprise, that they support people who are not well, they can help you get into work. They would recommend me to Twining. They booked me an appointment and I was introduced to Alisa and she was chosen to work with me.

Alisa amended my CV and she listened to my problems, as I suffer from Fibromyalgia and depression and this constant muscle pain had impacted on my wellbeing. Alisa was a good listener, she does not judge, she just shows the positives. I clicked with her straight away and every time she gave me a date to meet her I was looking forward to meeting her again. She listens and she has helped me so much with applications with all the different Imperial College Hospitals. We sent out so many applications and I didn’t hear from them because often they have already filled the vacancy with internal applicants. She did not give up on me and up to now she still calls, text messages and emails and supports me.

After sharing with Alisa all my journeys of failing to secure work, medical conditions and meeting with her a couple of times, I realised I needed to contact Ealing Hospital again to chase up my applications. I called them and spoke to the team leader and she was very nice and she said she would call me back that very day. When she called to tell me, "you are coming in for an interview following day morning". My interview went well, and I promised the ward manager that what I didn’t know I’m ready to learn and I will give 100%. It didn’t take me long, I knew how to use the observation machine and understanding good and bad sugar levels in patient suffering from diabetes. Working on the ward with patients suffering from different illnesses e.g. Alzheimer’s is challenging but at the same time is rewarding because I have learnt much and all that wouldn’t have happened without Alisa’s great support.

And then I finished training with them on one of the dementia wards. It involves more physical lifting and work than I can really manage with my Fibromyalgia, ideally, I need to work in an outpatient situation as working on the ward is too physically challenging, as I have now completed all of the training so I am very hopeful that in the next few weeks they will be in a position to offer me something suitable and Alisa will be supporting me to make that happen.

Alisa gave me the faith back which I had lost when I explained that the first day in my Phlebotomist training I was shaken but then the next day I was able to do it on a person and Alisa said to me "if you can do that I believe you can get work". She was there and she was giving me all these encouraging words, saying that I am strong and that I obviously don’t see myself how she saw me. She would pick me up and keep me moving every single day. She was chasing to hope that I will get a job with the Ealing NHS ideally with an outpatient department. I hope to hear in the next few days.

I always look forward to our meetings as Shona is so motivated and driven and I see how much she values the support I provide which makes my job so worthwhile! It was apparent from the get go that there were a few barriers to overcome that were preventing her from moving forward however three months after joining the service, Shona has successfully secured a role doing what she is passionate about. I am looking forward to continuing to support her as she embarks on a new journey in her new role.

Alisa, Employment Specialist

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