"I am back into employment."


Ewa's story

"I came to England five years ago from Poland. I had always worked before coming to England but when we came here, it was difficult to find work opportunities that fit in with our family life as my husband worked away. I decided not to go back to work and to be a full-time mum to our five-year-old son.

When my son turned four, he started school and I felt it was time to think about going back to work. However, as the years had gone by, I found my confidence had decreased. I’d heard about Step Forward Tees Valley through a friend and made the brave decision to contact them.

I met a navigator called Lisa and after a couple of meetings Lisa said she felt I was ready to take the next step.

We talked about work placements and Lisa arranged for me to meet with Avril, an employment engagement officer with Step Forward. When we first met, Avril told me about a mock interview session that Marks & Spencer were holding the next day. I was excited and prepared for the session with Avril.

The mock interview went very well and out of the eight participants that went along, I was selected to complete a two-week work placement. I was delighted and went along to pre-placement training with Avril.

During my work experience with Marks & Spencer, I got to experience the different sections of the store including fashion, tills, fitting rooms and cleaning.

At the end of two-week work placement, I met with the store manager to discuss my placement. I thoroughly enjoyed my time and felt like I was ready to commit to working. The store manager thanked me for my commitment and hard work and following the work I was offered a 12 hour-a-week permanent contract.

I was thrilled with the news and am delighted to be starting work again. Thanks to Lisa and Avril I am ready to start the next chapter in my life."