Prospects has invited Anna, a former Work Programme customer in Bristol, where Prospects is a subcontractor, to speak to other customers about how she overcame her barriers and returned to work.
Anna started the Work Programme in January 2013 after a tough few years. She had been a negotiator for an estate agent before a serious foot injury, which required major surgery and a long recovery period, forced her to leave in October 2008.
Unfortunately, during her recovery Anna’s partner died which, along with her foot injury, led her to experience major confidence and anxiety issues.
Prospects colleagues sent Anna on several interventions to improve her emotional state and professional development. After several months Anna was enrolled onto a Skills Enhancement Project, and began working part time as a volunteer receptionist at the Prospects Bristol office. Anna found it difficult to begin with, but colleagues were very supportive and flexible, allowing her to take breaks when she felt anxious. As a consequence Anna’s confidence improved, she even asked for additional tasks and colleagues gave her more responsibilities.
After nine months Anna felt part of the Prospects team, but needed a paid job. Anna said: “I've had the help I needed, and now the time has come to get on with returning to the real world.” She added: “First time I have felt confident in any way for years.”
With Prospects’ support Anna began taking steps towards finding work. Prospects sent Anna to a job application session with the retailer B&M. They interviewed Anna and then offered her a job, which she accepted in July 2014.
Anna wrote to Laura Hancock, a Prospects Personal Adviser, after securing her job: “Cheers and many thanks to you and all the team for your continued support and faith in me, it’s just what I needed to get me back on my feet.”
Prospects continued to provide emotional and practical support, helping Anna liaise with her Jobcentre Plus adviser to sort out her benefits. This made her transition into work easier. Anna is thriving in her new job and Steve, a B&M manager, is pleased with her progress. He said: “Anna is doing brilliantly, and is a major part of the team".
The entire Bristol team supported Anna, but special thanks go to Laura Hancock, Marsha McGregor and Kirsty Mallett. Prospects has invited Anna has to speak to other Work Programme customers about her experiences at the end of the month.