"I am trained and ready for work"    #iamstepforward

“Thanks to Step Forward Tees Valley and Jodie I have found my confidence and feel prepared for getting a job”      

Dawn's story

Dawn is a single mum of two children living in Darlington. Both her children have disabilities which made finding a job with suitable hours a little more difficult.

"When I got involved with Step Forward Tees Valley, I hadn’t been in work for a long time as I was a full-time carer for my daughter, who has autism.


As she was getting older, I was looking for work and have been offered a number of roles. However, many involve working at night and, as my daughter is still young, I haven’t been able to take them up. When I was at the Job Centre, they told me about Step Forward Tees Valley.  


I went down and met my navigator Jodie, and the rest is history! She told me about the programme and how it would benefit me. She started enrolling me onto courses and now I’ve got a fantastic CV!


The first course was called Buzz – it was all around confidence building. That’s when I found out I was extrovert – although a lot of people have said that they could have told me that! Then I did textiles, health and social, first aid, IT, English and business administration. I also volunteered for Citizens Advice and Age UK. Also, I am going to do a further six-week care course.


I really want to use my caring experience in a role – it’s all I’ve ever known. I’ve had a few interviews, but no joy as yet. The hours have to work with my daughter’s needs and that has proved challenging, but we will get there – I am desperate to work.


I have really changed over the past year. I’ve got more confident. I know what I want now. Being part of the programme has helped me because while I’ve had lots of hands-on experience in caring, it doesn’t give you a certificate – but with this programme you get the certificates to prove you can do what you say you do.


I feel more confident about the future. It’s just finding the job that’s going to work well with my situation. I’m still applying, and I’m sure I will be in work again soon.


I couldn’t have done this without Jodie - she’s really helpful and we’ve become very good friends. She’s found courses in everything I need. When I’m in work I will still keep in touch with her. She’s helped me a lot and got me where I am today."