A stepping-stone to success

6 Feb 2023
If you’ve never worked before, getting a foot on the career ladder can be a real challenge. This can be disheartening, but there is a way to bridge the gap. Becoming a volunteer can boost your confidence and self-esteem as you learn new skills and notch up that all-important work experience for your CV.
Single mum Pranom, 45, had many obstacles in her path when she was referred to the Restart Scheme, delivered by Ingeus, for help to find a job. Pranom had never worked before and was struggling with the language barrier, having recently moved to England. On top of that, she was experiencing health problems that affected her day-to-day life.
Now Pranom, of Cheetham Hill, is getting a taste of the working world after becoming a volunteer for a charity shop. While the Restart Scheme was set up to help people find paid work, Pranom needed a stepping-stone to improve her confidence and communication skills and prepare her for a future career.
Pranom admits to feeling apprehensive before her first appointment with Ingeus. She says: “I was a single parent living with my son and had health problems like depression, which I still have. At the time, I felt nervous and wasn’t comfortable going, as that’s what I’m usually like when first going to a place that I don’t know.”
Restart Advisor Abigail worked to reassure Pranom and signposted her to local arts and crafts clubs to help her keep busy and make new friends. As the language barrier was holding Pranom back from finding a job, Abigail helped her to apply for an English-speaking course at an adult learning centre. Understanding the benefits of volunteering, Abigail arranged for Pranom to attend an interview for a voluntary role at a charity shop – and it proved to be the perfect fit.
“Abigail helped me find activities to keep me busy and help relieve my stress,” says Pranom. “She helped me with applying to an ESOL course and she also organised the interview with the charity shop. She really supported me and was great.”
Pranom is now thoroughly enjoying her role at the charity shop and has grown in confidence. She says: “My role involves tidying and organising the store, communicating with customers and helping them. I feel comfortable there and I enjoy volunteering. My son is very proud and happy, he knows that I am making a difference.”
Ingeus delivers the Restart Scheme on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions in Greater Manchester and Central and West London and is partner to Serco, which delivers the scheme in Central West Midlands.

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