“I am starting up my own business"


Paula's story

"Since leaving school I had always worked in retail and in 2009 I had my daughter and took a career break.

In 2017,  I knew I needed to get back into part-time work but I didn’t want to go back into retail, I wanted to do something different.

I had always loved animals and I had been thinking about becoming a dog groomer, but I couldn’t see a way into making that my career.

When I was  completing some training at my daughter’s school, some navigators from Step Forward Tees Valley came to talk to parents who were attending the course to see if they needed some extra support.

I went to speak to the navigators and gave them my details. I plucked up the courage to go for my initial appointment.

At that first appointment we identified the barriers that were preventing me from moving forward. I had very low confidence which made me feel anxious and depressed. I was also feeling very isolated from being out of work.

I told Clare, my Navigator, about wanting to be a dog groomer and we came up with a plan to help me move forward and achieve my goal.

I went to a confidence building course which helped me feel more confident about trying to achieve my dream. While I was on the course, I met other people on the Step Forward Tees Valley programme. I enjoyed that and it helped me feel less isolated.

Clare then put me in touch with the work placement team and they found me a work placement at a dog grooming business. It was supposed to be for four weeks, but the owner offered me the chance to stay at the placement and receive on-the-job training while I studied for my accredited ICMG exams.

The team from Step Forward Tees Valley kept supporting me through this time and referred me to a training course called Eureka – this helped me learn what it’s like to be self-employed, about tax and how to create a business plan.

I’ve now had the confidence to set up my own business called Flash Kutz which offers dog grooming!

Step Forward Tees Valley has got me where I am today."