Louise’s Story

For many years, Louise has dreamt of working for Marks & Spencer, and thanks to the training, upskilling and one to one coaching from her Fair Start Scotland coach, Louise is now living that dream.

51 year old Louise, had a long employment history in factory production, despite suffering from several redundancies over the years.  Disheartened by losing her job more than 5 times, Louise felt it was time for a change and as such, set her sights on moving into retail.

With a lack of relevant work experience however, Louise found herself struggling to get a foot in the door. 

More than 5 years had passed since Louise’s last regular pay check, and in July 2018 she decided enough was enough.  Whilst attending a Jobs Fair, Louise learned of Fair Start Scotland.

Fair Start, the Scottish Government’s flagship employment support service, launched in April 2018 with the aim of helping 38,000 people across Scotland move closer to work.  Offering one to one support, training and upskilling, the programme is open to people neither working nor in education.

Led in the West of Scotland by the Wise Group, and a network of partners, Louise joined the programme and hasn’t looked back since.  Having spent 10 months working closely with her Fair Start coach, putting herself forward for personal development and training courses, Louise was able to put her past behind her and focus on achieving one of her ambitions; working for Marks & Spencer.

Louise was put forward for a 4 week placement with the much loved high street retailer, an experience which has since developed into a part time role in one of their biggest Scottish stores.  Whilst her placement was focused on working with stock in the Food Hall, Louise’s personable nature and love for talking with the customers impressed her manager so much, that she now finds herself working in the Café, a job which she loves. 

Louise recalls:  “By the end of the 4th week, I was really enjoying it, I really liked speaking to the customers.  I think they quickly realised that I had a good work ethic and I got nice feedback from the managers about this.

Through Fair Start, I had completed Health & Safety and Food Hygiene qualifications, which I think gave me an upper hand as I was offered for a job in the café.  The support of the people I work with has been great, helping me with on the job training and letting me find my feet in a very busy café.

I would recommend Fair Start to anyone who is looking for work, it has helped me immensely.”

Louise’s Work Coach, Melissa, said:  “The placement was an excellent insight into retail for Louise, and gaining employment at the end was a tremendous achievement.  

Fair Start Scotland has not only allowed Louise to progress into employment, she has met new friends, progressed as a person and really flourished under the support and guidance of the Fair Start staff, supporting her on her journey.”

If you are looking for work, and like Louise, could benefit from additional support to achieve your goal, visit www.thewisegroup.co.uk/fairstart or give the team a call on 0300 303 3381, and find out how you too could get a Fair Start in work.