Before Ready for Work, Kirsty hit a low point in her life when she was arrested and received a criminal conviction. However, she was surprised to find this was the wakeup call she needed.
"I was a child of the 80s and as a teenager the music scene grabbed my attention. At that time, taking drugs didn’t feel like a conscious decision, it was just something you did. For years I tried to hold down a job but my lifestyle meant I ended up in and out of work. I was stuck in a destructive cycle and everything felt very unstable.
In 2015, things took a turn for the worse when I was arrested for dangerous driving. My behaviour was out of control. The two year suspended sentence I received was the wake-up call I needed to turn my life around, only now I faced a new challenge.
Having a criminal conviction made it impossible for me to find work and I received rejection after rejection. To be honest, I could understand - if you’ve got two applications, one with a criminal conviction and one without, of course you’re not going to choose me.
It was my probation worker who told me about Ready for Work. Five days into my work placement with Marks & Spencer they offered me a job. I burst into tears; I’d been given a second chance. Since then I’ve changed departments and have just joined a development course to become a section manager. From rock bottom 18 months ago I’m now in the best place I’ve ever been.
My criminal conviction isn’t me, it’s a mistake I made at a difficult point in my life. Ready for Work has given me the opportunity to show that to an employer and to believe in myself again.
I’ve now been at Carillion for eight months. I’ve got my own flat and I volunteer at Cornerstone every weekend. I’m not ashamed of what’s happened to me, because if there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that this could happen to anybody."
All images ©Alison Baskerville/Business In The Community
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