Single mum Kara had been out of work for six years before she found out about Ready for Work. In her late teens Kara had worked as a cleaner, but when she had her son she had to stop work and found she lost confidence during this time.
“I focused on getting back to work when he went to school. But I struggled to get back into a job because of difficult family relationships, and a fear of certain jobs. I once had a placement in administration, and they told me I didn’t speak ‘correctly’. So when I tried to apply for jobs I avoided ones which would involve speaking.”
Making no progress with her search, Kara found support from Jobs & Business Glasgow, who referred her to Business in the Community.
When Kara first heard about Ready for Work, her initial reaction was that she wouldn’t be suitable.
“I imagined customers would be hard work, and I didn’t want to work anywhere where people could bother me or make comments about me. I thought I would feel awkward about the way I talk”
But Business in the Community encouraged Kara to give the programme a go. And by the time she’d completed two days of training Kara’s confidence had already come on leaps and bounds.
“The training was really good. We discussed our expectations, and gained good knowledge about the business world. We spent time thinking about our strengths, things we already have and can use on our placement. By the end I felt prepared for the experience”.
Kara’s placement was at an M&S store in Glasgow and to her surprise, she found she loved it:
“The placement really built my confidence. Everyone supported me and gave me feedback throughout. I thought customers would be difficult, and so I was surprised to find I enjoyed helping customers. I didn’t even feel awkward!”
Kara picked up the work quickly, and her attitude impressed her team and the store manager, who put her forward for a 12 week contract.
“Kara very quickly impressed us with her attitude and eagerness to learn,” the store manager explains. “By the end of her placement we had decided we had to get her on board as soon as we could.”
Kara was delighted.
“It felt brilliant to be considered for a fixed term job afterwards. But it felt even better when in May 2017 the store offered me a permanent job!”
“I am now responsible for the first bakery shift 6am to 10am, setting up everything on my own for the store opening. I love the bakery, it keeps me constantly busy and the time flies by.”
Life looks very different now Kara has a job. It’s allowed her to buy a car, which gives her much greater freedom and means she can take her son on day trips to visit her family. But for Kara, having a job means she can take pride in the example she sets for her son.
“It feels great to show my son I can go out and work. It is so motivating, knowing you are making money for yourself rather than relying on someone else to give you money”.
Though hesitant at first, now Kara would recommend Ready for Work to anyone.
“Don’t be anxious or worried about what you don’t know, because everyone is really supportive at the pre-training, during the placement and afterwards. You think you need to know everything but it turns out that the layout of the store changes frequently and so even long-term staff have to check and ask questions where things are!”