This participant has recently been announced as the winner of the Belfast Works LEMIS+ Participant of the Year Award. The award was presented to her as the person who had come the furthest following support from the LEMIS+ Project. She came to the LEMIS+ Project at the Ashton Centre after a long period of unemployment.
The participant explained:
“I had worked in retail for years when I stopped to just be at home with my children. After about a year I realised that not being in work wasn’t working for me. My physical health deteriorated and I found myself always listless and tired. It was a vicious cycle because the less I did, the more tired I felt. I’d hardly ever be out of the house and I found that I really missed just interacting with people. It was making me a bit depressed, but then the light just came on for me that I needed to get out and start working again.”
“I spent a lot of time researching opportunities on the internet. I thought that I’d like to get in to office work, which is where I’d started out after school, but my skills were dead in the water. I thought that I really needed training to bring me up to date with new computer packages etc, but that all costs money. Looking back now though, I realise that I was seriously lacking in confidence.”
Joining the LEMIS+ Project
She saw an advert for the LEMIS+ Project and went to the Ashton Centre to find out if they could help her.
“When I met my mentor I was blown away by her level of support and commitment. She was very genuinely supportive and kept constant contact with me to let me know about other courses and to keep me in the loop about job opportunities that might suit me. She advised me to go on a basic ECDL (European Computer Driving License) course as a confidence booster and just being on a computer again got me back into the swing of things.”
“Then a job came up and I went for it and got it! Working again is fantastic. I have a renewed sense of purpose and I really couldn’t do without the extra support network that I have with my colleagues. While it’s sometimes challenging and I am having to constantly learn new things, it’s definitely much better for my overall health and sense of wellbeing. I feel like I have the potential to grow now.”