Several years ago, Lesley was facing some tough situations in her life that had left her feeling pretty low with not much hope
But the intervention and encouragement of a job coach from Community Jobs Scotland, was the beginning of a journey that would not only change her life but renew her with confidence for the future. The key purpose of Community Jobs Scotland is to support young people into sustainable employment through providing meaningful paid work experience in the third sector. CJC approached The Salvation Army who was keen to help provide on the job experience.
Lesley explains: “The placement was about getting me back into the workplace, as I hadn’t worked in two and a half years due to my mum passing away and taking over care of my younger brother.”
She continued: “I was really nervous and scared about going back into the workplace as I hadn’t worked in such a long time, after job-seeking for 5 months and feeling very frustrated and undervalued, the placement with The Salvation Army has allowed me to gain vital work experience, new skills, as well as a renewed feeling of independence.”
Lesley’s work placement was within The Salvation Army’s Divisional Headquarters in West Scotland, a hub to support frontline church and social service provision.
She explains, “This was my first time doing administration work within an office, as I had only ever carried out administration courses in school and then computing at college. During my placement I have been tasked with general office duties such as word processing, minute taking, filing, travel booking and mail distribution. The placement has made me a lot more confident within myself, and the feeling that I had learned enough within the role to secure future full time employment once the placement was finished.”
“The whole point of the work experience was about getting me back into the workplace, I was really nervous and scared as I hadn’t worked in such a long time, but the support and friendliness of the team was amazing and I felt so welcome and accepted. I have seen a huge difference in myself since starting the placement to now from the skills I have learned to the confidence gained.”
When she finished work placement, Lesley was out of work for a further 3 months but during that time however her work experience had given her a new confidence to do a lot of job searching in that time.
Lesley then noticed a job advert for an administrative post within The Salvation Army in another department – she wasted no time and filled in an application form, at the top of her list of qualities was her experience with the Divisional Headquarters.
Now full of confidence, Lesley said: “I couldn’t believe it when the job opportunity came up, I felt really confident in applying for the role and attending the interview. When I got the call to say that I was to be offered the position, I was over the moon. As I already knew everyone there and had carried out most of the tasks expected, it wasn’t as scary as starting a new job again. Having now been in post for 4 months, I absolutely love it has given me independence and a new lease of life, I can now support my younger brother and I have just bought a new car! I now feel confident for what lies ahead and know that without that initial work experience that I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now!.”
Mr Andrew McCall, The Salvation Army’s Regional Homelessness Manager for Scotland, said: ‘Lesley is a key part of our team and it is evident to see the confidence that she has built up through her proactive handling of the complex and sensitive information we require on a daily basis.
She is not the same person who first came to us and it is clear to see that her confidence and independence has grown in leaps and bounds.’