Why did Alex join Links to Work M3?
Alex was signed up to the ESF Links to Work M3 program in January 2020 after being referred by her local Job Centre. At Alex’s Welcome Meeting she explained that she suffered with Dyspraxia, ASD and hearing loss. Alex’s confidence was extremely low as she had never felt supported in her previous workplace.
Alex had work experience in a Day Nursery but always felt criticized and misunderstood. This left her feeling very wary about working and being around people who may judge her. She wanted to find a job that would suit her needs but didn’t know how to overcome her barriers.
How Links to Work M3 helped?
Alex met with Personal Adviser Tracy Starkey and from the first meeting it was decided that there were three barriers that needed to be worked on, confidence, training and being understood. Tracey identified that Alex had very low trust in people so she would need to work on building a trusting relationship.
Tracy started helping Alex work on coping mechanisms while in lockdown during COVID-19. Alex liked to be creative so Tracy encouraged her to continue with her knitting and completing jigsaws as this would help clear her mind of negative thoughts. Alex was also completing a Child Care course from home but was struggling to concentrate for long periods of time, so Tracy encouraged her to call when she became frustrated. Tracey would reassure her by doing breathing exercise and motivational conversations.
Alex had asked Tracy to communicate with her Language and Speech Therapist Rachel so that they could all work together. Rachel explained that Alex worked best with visual aids, having previously worn colored bands to show how she was feeling that day and if she needed support. Because of Alex’s complex conditions Tracy signed her up for an online Teaching Assistant course that uses video aids so that she could do from home in her own time.
Alex was putting herself under extra pressure as she felt she was not working to the same speed as others. Tracy assured Alex that everyone is different and that we learn at various paces. Alex took this on board and felt ready to take the next step on her course. Knowing that Tracy was at the end of the phone should she need help kept her motivated. Tracy reassured Alex that she would be beside her throughout her journey with Links to Work from weekly telephone calls to applications and interviews, all the way to supporting her once back in employment.
As Alex’s confidence grows, Tracy has helped her plan for the future. Alex wants to improve her Math and English skills to enhance her job prospects and Tracy plans to put Alex then into a working environment that will understand and accommodate her needs to help her flourish in her dream job of working with young children.
Alex said “I have the best mentor, Tracy really helped me to boost my confidence and make me feel confident. She is always there for me when I need to talk to someone and is very approachable, she’s also got a good understanding of me and my needs especially because I’ve recently had bad experiences in the workplace. Tracy also has a good understanding in getting to know me and working alongside me and my therapist to get the best results we can. I am looking forward to working more closely with Tracy in the coming months and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me. A big thank you to all the people I’ve met along the way, Paul and Kat made me feel very welcomed to the program from day one and were there till I was introduced to Tracy.’’
*not real name