Resilience in Abundance

Thursday 2 October 2014

KerriAs a young woman who had been NEET for quite some time and had gone for numerous job interviews but to no avail, I know first-hand the hardships long term unemployment can bring.

Over the last four years especially this year, I have gone through big changes and have had to adapt to my circumstances. After the passing of my Mum when I was 20 years old, I suddenly had the responsibility of trying to ensure the running of my household and being somewhat of a full time guardian for my sister who was just ten at the time.

I had always been a child who was very dependent on my Mum and had carried that dependency into young adulthood, at the age of 20 I wasn’t at all self-sufficient. This would have to change as I was now more or less solely responsible for the house.

Although I was dependent on my Mum one thing she and my Nan always encouraged was high educational achievement, and they urged me to dedicate more time to my studies because, they said that as a young black girl I had to try ten times harder than my white counterparts. They also said that I may get to an age where I could find it hard to secure a good job if, I had limited qualifications and hardly any experience in the workplace.

Low and behold at the age of 24 with that nagging concept of hindsight, I see they were of course right. Having attained standard GCSE’S and not having worked in one sector for a substantial amount of time I became worried about my prospects.

At the start of 2014 I had neither motivation nor direction in regards to what career I wanted to pursue. Roughly around March I had a big wakeup call from family in regards to where my life was heading and I knew it seemed bleak unless I took immediate action.

I was always a believer in people changing over time, but for me it was like an instant change. I started applying for jobs like never before and felt a true desire to succeed, not only for myself but to honour my Mum, and be a great role model for my sister, and also to make my Nan proud.

I applied for jobs daily to the point where I lost count- I got to roughly 300 odd applications with no feedback, just the ordinary ‘if you haven’t been contacted within the next week assume you have been unsuccessful’. This process carried on for quite some time.

Throughout I had periods where I felt so disheartened and sometimes would just sleep the day away. But whether by nature or by nurture I am not a person who lets themselves feel defeated for too long. So I continued to apply for jobs and started to network, approaching organisations in my local area to see if they could help me with finding work apprenticeships in particular. I was more proactive than ever.

With this new sense of proactiveness and willing I was open to using any service founded to support people in securing jobs. When at the local Job Centre I was informed about Young Women’s Trust and in particular the Work It Out Coaching Service.

Two women from YWT told me about the organisation and what the coaching involved, asked if I was interested and took my details. I was contacted a few days after by Yasmin. We had many telephone conversations where Yasmin gave me solid advice on interview techniques, and increased my confidence.

She always worked around my convenience and because of her warm character it was easy to confide in her. I had been applying for apprenticeships during this time and found that being able to talk to Yasmin helped increase my motivation and confidence.

But although I applied for numerous apprenticeships, and was having great success in getting through to the final of the many stages and, securing face to face interviews I was still falling at the last hurdle. By about the sixth rejection after clearing every stage only to be told I didn’t get the job after all, my motivation and resilience were again embarking on a rollercoaster ride.

But having been blessed with resilience in abundance I can proudly say I finally secured an apprenticeship and I am working towards a Level 3 NVQ in Business and Administration. The apprenticeship allows me to earn, learn and gain a qualification, something which a Job would not offer me and most importantly that invaluable work experience most employers are looking for.

So to all those who have been in, or are still in this predicament remain determined no matter how many knockbacks you encounter because, sometimes many a door is shut because the right one is yet to be opened!