01 June 2020
I was enrolled on to The Job Gym programme by my support worker from Ingeus in June 2018. I was having a hard time with my mental health after losing my children through domestic violence, my confidence was awful. I wanted to meet new people and gain new skills that I could use in later life.
I was told about the Job Gym course (call centre), I went along to the open day to find out more about this as I was very interested in taking part.
I was living in Rochdale at the time so I would be leaving home at approx. 6 am to get to the course for 9 am determined to succeed. I completed the course with flying colours, met many new friends, and secured myself a job interview with ADT and Vodafone. I also met a lovely man called Jason on the course, and we started a relationship.
I was unsuccessful at these interviews due to my confidence and nerves getting in the way, I was devastated, felt like a failure, however, my tutor Ian was amazing and supported me in finding different opportunities.
I moved out of Rochdale in November 2018 to a lovely house in Ashton and could not have been happier but when things started to finally go ok for me, I got diagnosed with ovarian cancer in December. My mental health deteriorated significantly and I attempted suicide on various occasions, but Jason and Ian continued to support me.
In January 2019, I had a major operation to remove cancer, which was a success. Jason has been with me every step of the way, and we moved in with each other a few months later.
From being a little girl I had always wanted to be a Prison Officer, but never thought I would be good enough (qualifications and past life choices). In November 2019, I applied for a Prison Custody Officer role, and to my amazement; I was offered a fitness test at the prison itself. I was so excited and I spoke to Ian and Jason about it and with their encouragement, I went.
Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful. Heartbroken. Stand up brush off, try again.
In January 2020, a friend told me about a different role in the prison and there was not a fitness test, just a face-to-face interview, so I applied.
In February, I got the all-important phone call… I got the job!
I started my training in March and in April; I became a fully-fledged Prison Officer on nights.
Ian and Jason have been amazing and they have supported me the entire way, helping when I have been nervous or stressed, sometimes just letting me talk.
In May, after being together for 23 months Jason asked me to marry him, and I am pleased to announce that on 20th July 2022 we are becoming husband and wife.
I am where I am today all through attending The Job Gym and I cannot thank everyone enough. Ian, Kien, and Richard really do take pride in their jobs and are not just there because it is a wage; they genuinely want to help people succeed.
I have gone from being stuck in the house 24/7 depressed and miserable to have the best job I could have ever asked for.
I now work at Forest Bank Prison as a night officer on the wings. I want to help others rebuild their lives, as I was given the help to rebuild mine. It is safe to say that without The Job Gym I would not be where I am now.