“Everything JST and Chris did for me, thanks to the Bridges project, really helped me to believe I would find the right job. They never stopped reminding me that I would succeed.”
– Kez Howard, BBOBridges Participant
Kerry (or Kez, as she prefers) accessed the BBO Bridges project through being a volunteer at Cielo Coffee. Kez heard about the great opportunities available through BBO Bridges via a colleague at Cielo whom already received support. Kez had held gainful employment for over 14 years at a well-known Supermarket, but had been made redundant a little under a year before.
Kez had a wealth of skills ready to bring to the table of a new employer, she had a fantastic punctuality record and strong references to back up her skills and knowledge. Unfortunately, due to the length of her former employment, she was not well practiced at all with the skills required to secure work; employability skills. Being constantly turned away, knowing she had all of the attributes for being a valued team member of any retail outlet, but struggling to make these skills shine at an interview, Kez was beginning to lose her confidence, which ultimately led her to more barriers in accessing employment.
By creating a support plan around building confidence, exercising skills, and undergoing a thorough Employability skills programme – covering everything from streamlining the job searching process, to interview techniques, to unique confidence building tasks – we were able to equip Kez for proving her skillset at interviews, and to secure work within three months of joining the BBO Bridges experience.
“Kez was great Volunteer. We were all so proud of her for the way she engaged with the support she got from Chris, she worked so hard and really lifted her confidence and professionality. We miss her, but she is succeeding, and that’s what it is all about.”
Paul Stavlo, Manager, Ceilo Coffee Roasters
Kez is now fully immersed in her new careers, working for a top-end retailer at the Merry Hill Centre. She regularly keeps contact with her support and former voluntary colleagues, and is steadfast in using the skills and knowledge she has picked up to continue to improve and inspire moving forward. “I’m doing so well in my new role, and I love it”, Kez elates, “I always knew once I found a job I would be okay, but it was truly frustrating and daunting everytime I was turned away. I kept calm and carried on, with a little help from my friends at Just Straight Talk and BBO Bridges.
Photo: Paul Stavlo (Cielo Coffee), Kerry Howard, Chris Jones (BBO Bridges/Just Straight Talk)