Lauren is employed as a general assistant at a supermarket in North London. These are her own words:
After leaving school I went on to college to study beauty therapy. Once my course finished I was unable to find work and started to sign on at the Hub*. For five months I was going into the Jobcentre daily to look for work, searching online and handing my CV in to shops. I was finding it really hard as I had never worked before and everybody was looking for experience.
My Jobcentre Plus adviser referred me on to A Fairer Chance as they had some retail opportunities and that was exactly what I was looking for. When I went to the first interview with them I thought I wouldn’t have a chance, as I found out they were recruiting for a large supermarket retailer and I assumed they would only be interested in people with experience, but that wasn’t the case. When I met Rozie from A Fairer Chance, she said although I had no experience I had just the right personality for retail and would suit a customer service role. She wanted to invite me back to attend an interview technique workshop, run by A Fairer Chance. I left feeling really pleased that she had thought I would be right for the job.
As I had no work experience and had never been to an interview before, I found the workshop really helpful. We thought about all the questions we could be asked and how to answer them. We also spoke about using skills from our everyday lives and how they could be transferred into a work environment. I am a very shy person but after the workshop I was feeling really confident and prepared for my interview.
I attended my interview at the store. Lots of the questions I was asked in interview were the same that AFC had prepped me for so I came out feeling really confident. When Rozie called me the following week to tell me I had been offered a full-time, permanent job I was over the moon. I couldn’t believe I had got the first job I went for.
Being in work has made a massive difference to my life. My mum is disabled so me making my own money has taken a lot of pressure off my dad as I no longer have to ask him for money all the time. It also means that I can now help out financially if it’s needed. Being in work also gives me a chance to get out of my house when things are very stressful and I have made lots of new friends.
I would definitely recommend A Fairer Chance to other young people who really want to work but are finding it hard to get a foot in the door.
* The Waltham Forest Hub was a Jobcentre geared toward supporting people who were 24 years old and younger.