Working at Christmas

For one of our clients it truly is the season to be jolly! In September, single mum Kate was referred to Ready for Work run by Shekinah’s employment team in Plymouth. After being out of work for three years Kate has now secured a job with Argos. Here is Kate’s story:

Three years ago, Kate became pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Having been in foster care from a young age herself, Kate wanted to give her daughter all the love and safety she was lucky to receive from her great foster mum.

Being solely focused on her daughter, Kate found looking for and securing work increasingly difficult and Kate’s confidence in her ability to work quickly reached rock bottom. Kate and her baby were facing homelessness when her living arrangements became unstable.

Kate eventually found a safe place to live with a supported housing scheme but knew she had to find work if she was going to properly support her baby. Kate began volunteering for a local Children’s Centre to slowly build her self-esteem and finally she was referred to Kristy Winters at Shekinah who co-ordinates Ready for Work in partnership with Business in the Community as part of their wider employability support package.

Meeting Kristy was a huge step for Kate who was so nervous about what Shekinah would think of her. But Kristy quickly calmed her nerves and went on to support her at every stage of the Ready for Work programme. With Kristy’s support, Kate attended all pre-placement workshops and participated when she felt comfortable. Every now and then, she was taken out of her comfort zone but Kate rose to the challenge and handled it perfectly.

Shekinah were running a recruitment drive for placements with Argos and Homebase through Ready for Work - these fantastic retail opportunities were a first for Shekinah as a result of their long-standing partnership with Business in the Community.

Kristy put Kate forward for a customer services role at Argos. Excited about this opportunity, Kate and Kristy worked hard to secure childcare for the two weeks while Kate was on placement as well as working hours at Argos that complimented her family commitments.

Kate was so nervous and excited at the same time; taking the challenge and surprising herself by how well she could cope under pressure and adapt her normal routine.

By the second week of her placement, Kate was offered a part time contract with Argos that started the following week. She couldn’t wait to contact Kristy - she was so delighted! Kate said "starting this journey was so scary, but in the end it has been so worthwhile! I can’t thank everyone enough for supporting me."

Christmas is such a special time of year and this Christmas is going to be a great one for Kate and her daughter as she is finally able to have the Christmas she has always wanted for her little family.

Read more personal stories of participants of BITC's Ready for Work programme.