Yasmin has been doing some work experience with us at Gateway Family Services. Here is what she had to say in her own words.
‘My name is Yasmin Rai. I am 17 years old and I am an A-level student. At my school it is encouraged to complete a work experience placement in order to gain knowledge and understanding of the working world. Therefore I decided to look for a work placement in an office based environment. During my research I came across a company, Gateway, and I was both interested and intrigued with the services they provide. After contacting Gateway they kindly offered me a two week work placement in their office.
During my two weeks at Gateway I took on the role as receptionist. I felt this provided me with many responsibilities within the company. I was able to answer phones, sort post, pass on messages and welcome guests. I was also lucky enough to gain an insight into all the services at Gateway. I was invited to one of the Health Trainer’s team meetings, which gave me an understanding of the work of the Health Trainers. I also spent some time with Lighten Up, where I was given an in depth explanation about how their service works to help people lose weight.
I completed various administration jobs for the Pregnancy Outreach Workers. Some tasks required me to read through files to gather information on clients; this showed me the amazing work the POWs carry out for many vulnerable pregnant women. I also worked with the EAST department completing evaluations with previous clients and then adding feedback to the database. Additionally I was lucky enough to attend a training course about Equality and Diversity, which I found thoroughly interesting.
The work experience has developed my communication skills, especially over the phone, organisational skills and has given me a very in depth experience of administration work. All the tasks I have carried out have been enjoyable and a great learning opportunity. The experience has also made me acknowledge the great work that Gateway Family Services does.’
I have just spent the last two weeks delivering a training course to 16 and 17 year old people. The course was Employability and Personal Development and though it was tiring it was a couple of the most rewarding two weeks that I have had in a long time.
Young people receive bad press all the time. People view them as lazy or trouble causers. This group of young people were neither of those. Some days they were hard work but other days we had such good fun together. They were never rude or disrespectful to me or to the other members of the group. They supported each other to get through the course and gave each other advice. At the start of the two weeks some learners were quiet and found it difficult to join in by the end of the two weeks I could hardly get a word in edgeways and that is exactly what I wanted. Whilst it wasn’t a long course I know that they got loads out of it and have definitely increased their confidence.
These young people had ambitions and aspirations, one wanted to be a doctor, another a dentist. Most of them knew exactly what they need to do in order to reach their goals. They had great personalities, they were funny, kind, considerate and were even concerned that I had not eaten any lunch and they were fasting at the time!
One of the learners was already getting support from one of our key workers. The key worker told him about an apprenticeship opportunity and gave him some interview support. This included doing a mock interview and going through likely questions. The learner went for an interview and got the job. He’s the one in the suit.
In this clip one of our volunteers, Donna, talks about how she became involved with volunteering after being made redundant, as well as helping people recover from a heart attack, Donna has got some qualifications, increased confidence, new friends and even learned to foxtrot! the Cardio Rehab Volunteer programme was funded by the Sandwell, Solihull and Birmingham Workforce Locality Board more details about the project can be found here https://gatewayfs.org/2012/07/02/background-to-cardio-rehab-volunteer-project/
Karen had been a victim of domestic abuse and as a result had been living in women’s refuges in and around Birmingham. Now that she was settled she wanted to carry on with a job in the care industry as this is what she used to do.
Key Worker Rachel, supported Karen to create a CV and an email address. Karen wanted to do a counselling course and an NVQ in Advice and Guidance as she already had an NVQ in Care. Karen knew that she would need to do some voluntary work to gain more experience. Rachel gave Karen some ideas of organisations that she may be able to volunteer with. Karen made contact with them and one organisation invited her to an interview. Rachel downloaded the company’s volunteer handbook and worked with Karen on her interview skills and techniques.
Karen attended the interview and found out that she was successful four days later.
This is a great opportunity for Karen as she will receive training and gain valuable experience as well as getting a reference for any future applications she makes.
Jennifer* had been receiving support from another service in Gateway when she was referred to the Key Workers. Jennifer wanted a change in direction from the work she usually did. She wanted to work in Primary Education as the hours would fit in with her family life.
Susan, a key worker, supported Jennifer to write a new CV and covering letter. She helped Jennifer to look for colleges that offered teaching courses. Jennifer didn’t have an email account so Susan encouraged her to set one up and to also look for courses in her local area.
Jennifer found a course at Birmingham Metropolitan College in Supporting Teaching and Learning. Jennifer needed a placement and because she was growing in confidence she was able to approach two local schools who agreed that she could do a twelve hour placement with them as long as she had a clear CRB.
Jennifer continues to do the course and will hopefully go on to university later this year.
Khan came to the UK to live with his wife but he came on as a visitor visa so he had to go back to Pakistan. Eventually he got a spouse visa but it didn’t take him long to realise that job prospects were not what he thought they were. His wife was friends with my wife and she made a referral to me because she knew I was an employment advisor.
Khan has a lot of work experience and qualifications but they are not recognised here, a Masters in Pakistan is the same as an Honours degree in England. He has looked for work outside of his field because he knew that he wouldn’t get the type of work that he has done previously. In Pakistan he was a teacher and here he had been self employed selling sports goods but the competition was too big.
Khan’s wife was working and supporting the family inspite of her health problems. Khan now needed to take over and be the main breadwinner.
Khan did not have a CV or references. I told him that working culture is different in England and we need to start with a CV. Khan was confident that he had all the experience he needed and would not need help with interviews etc.
At the first Interview Skills Workshop Khan’s eyes were opened to the way things are done in this country and afterwards told me that he would never have passed an interview in a hundred years if he hadn’t done the workshop.
To get references he agreed to do some voluntary work at the QE through Gateway and he got all the training that went with the volunteering job. He now has something to put on his CV and he has now got a job in a factory. It is not what he wanted but he is bringing home a wage and supporting his family.
Colette was supporting a client who was using drugs and alcohol. Her dad had been an alcoholic and her mum left the family when she was very young. She also had a brother who was using drugs.
After her dad died she took over the tenancy of what had been the family home for 30 years. It had never been decorated or had a repair in that time so was in a bit of a state.
Colette visited the client on a weekly basis. She has a lot of issues to deal with so Colette broke them down in to small chunks and dealt with them based on the clients need.
Colette supported her to attend appointments both medical and social, she would meet her at the hospital or at case conferences. When they were at core group meetings the client and her partner would get upset when everyone was talking about their case. They were at risk of Social Services removing the baby at birth.
Colette worked hard to get the housing to fix the repairs such as, fitting a new kitchen, installing a new boiler and getting the steps at the front of the house repaired.
Once the repairs had been done the couple started to redecorate and this is when Colette started to see a change taking place. The client’s partner went into rehab and she stopped using drugs and alcohol. They have kept their baby and would not have achieved this without Colette’s help.