Wise Journeys #2 – Lauren, Wise Steps

As part of our ‘Wise Journeys’ series, we hear about how our Wise Steps programme helped Lauren gain a qualification, improve her mental wellbeing and get on the path to employment once again.

If you live in Tyne and Wear then you may have heard of Wise Steps, an employability programme which helps support people in this region reach their goals.

Whether you’re looking for a job, need help with managing your money worries or require mental health support, your Wise Steps work coach can provide you with the right advice and mentorship to help you get to where you want to be.

Wise Steps: Lauren’s story

Before joining the Wise Steps programme, Lauren had not worked for six years due to being bullied in her previous workplace.

“This had caused me to have mental health issues including depression, anxiety, social anxiety and severe OCD,” says Lauren. “I struggled with my confidence and just being around other people in general. I felt like I would never be able to get enough courage and confidence to work again.”

Lauren needed support and encouragement to build her confidence and get her to a place where she felt like she could enter employment once again, so this was the focus of her work coach Asia from Women’s Health in Tyneside (WHiST).

“Wise Steps offered me support on all levels from activities to do at home to practice good mental health during lockdown, to putting me in touch with people who could help me with interviews,” says Lauren.

“I was given art packs to use during lockdown which were great. I was also provided with a counselling service which I only had to wait a couple of weeks for which was incredible, as I had recently waited three months on the NHS waiting list only to be told they would not be giving me any at this time.

“I was put into contact with Smart Works who helped me greatly with looking at my CV and telling me how I could improve it and with interview tactics.

“Asia [my work coach] also gave me regular support over the phone to check in with me and see what direction I was heading in and exactly what help I needed at each particular time.”

Lauren was able to get back into employment, landing a job at Home Bargains, and she credits the Wise Steps programme with helping her do so.

“I truly believe it is the sole reason I have managed to get myself back into employment. All of the different angles of support which you didn’t even know you needed or could receive were so surprising and so helpful,” she says.

“The results of my time on Wise Steps are amazing. I have gained a qualification in mental health awareness which I did online during lockdown, I have massively improved my confidence and mental health with Asia and counselling, I have gained knowledge about CVs and interviews which would go throughout my working life and I have most importantly managed to get myself back into work which I never believed was possible.

“Thank you to the whole Wise Steps programme for changing my life and particularly Asia for being an amazing coach and being so good at what she does. I am forever grateful.”

If you live in Newcastle, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside or Sunderland then you could receive the same life-changing support as Lauren on Wise Steps.  See our Wise Steps page for more information.

Wise Steps is delivered by the Wise Group and funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and the European Social Fund and provides support for people in Tyne and Wear that want to transform their lives. Working in partnership with local organisations such as WHiST, Wise Steps provides one to one support to people facing barriers assisting them to access employment and work experience opportunities, supporting them to achieve qualifications and improving their wellbeing and life chances.

Want to read more Wise Journeys? Find out how Louise found a job with the help of our JETS programme.