Waheeda came to the Wise Steps programme in 2017, wanting to find a pathway back in to employment. With a large employment gap and a lack of qualification, she was at a loss and struggling to find her place in the world. After being referred to the Wise Steps programme through one of Gentoo’s community partnership coordinators, she was placed with a job coach who worked with her to understand her barriers and where she wanted to get to.

Despite suffering with a mental health condition, Waheeda showed a drive to return to work and identified working with children or volunteering as areas she was interested in. This led to her completing several qualifications, with her coach supporting her through personal and development programmes and retail skills courses.

With her confidence building, Waheeda worked with her coach to apply for positions in local supermarkets, whilst volunteering with the British Heart Foundation. Unfortunately, her initial set of applications were declined, but Waheeda did not let this affect her;

“When I got the first set of rejections, I was upset as I felt I had made so much improvement, but Aimie [her coach] was there to support me and help me move forward. Wise Steps really kept me going when I felt like quitting.”

With a renewed drive, Waheeda took volunteering positions with a number of organisations whilst completing further qualifications, including an adult social care course, before making a successful application to Debenhams. Waheeda’s story highlights the importance of the support that the Wise Steps programme can give to customers; from helping them to realise their potential to providing them with support throughout training, volunteering and the job application process.

Making sure our customers are at the heart of what we do and ensuring their wellbeing leads to great stories like this one. Everyone at Wise Steps is over the moon for Waheeda and we all want to say a huge congratulations to her for all of her hard work and success!

“The Wise Steps programme has helped me learn new skills and given me access to experiences I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Being given the support I needed to get back in to work has been amazing, without Wise Steps I would not be where I am today.”