“I am helping myself to help others"
"I used to work in retail but I had mobility problems so had to leave my role. Then I was caring for my father so I was out of work for a period of time.
I didn’t want to give up on the idea of working, I hated that idea. It got to the point where I was losing motivation. I wasn’t getting replies for job applications because I’d been out of work and people were judging the gap in employment. I had the skills and experience but wasn’t getting replies.
I started Step Forward as a last chance.
My early time on programme was frustrated by medical appointments, which took a heavy time burden on me, and delayed my career goals. There was a lot of time pressure. Lots of appointments. That was frustrating for me because I had loads of ideas that we wanted to take forward.
I, along with my navigator, came up with a plan and I started undertaking courses, which fit around my appointments. Whatever course came up I would do it.
During one course, I helped support another participant through the sessions which led to me being asked to join the peer mentor programme. I was happy to do so, but before the chance came around a paid position with Step Forward Tees Valley came up, and it was suggested I apply. I did, and was lucky enough to land the role of Step Forward ambassador for the Middlesbrough, Redcar, and Stockton areas. I started in my role in August and now work with the navigator teams, partners and participants to evaluate the programme from all angles, and am thoroughly enjoying doing it.
I get involved in all aspects of Step Forward - courses, evaluations, the story of the programme from every angle. It’s like being a participant in some cases, but other days I’m in the office – it’s really varied. It’s 16 hours a week just now but it might become full time.
My goal is to help others the way Step Forward helped me.
It’s great how it’s all worked out. I’d recommend the programme to other people!"