Yes Katie, You Can do it!

It’s been a while since I posted, something about working in communications during a global pandemic I guess, but man does it feel good to be promoting support for job seekers and local businesses right now…anyhoo, back to the blog.

Last week I had a chat with Katie, who’s recently moved into Nottingham and who, it’s fair to say, has had a bit of a hard time jobs-wise in her young life.

Katie was doing OK at 6th form and college, working at the same time in a pub, but around that time she had to unplug and take a couple of years away because her mental health dropped. She didn’t give up though (it’s a thread which runs through this interview!) she heard about a project with Groundwork where she stayed for three amazing years.

Working for Groundwork, Katie joined Base51 as a young youth-leader which ignited her passion for helping others and youth work, something she mentions later in our conversation, but after what was a definite high point for Katie, the lows followed again;

“I was offered two jobs then, one at a shop which was good but then I had a fall at work and they stopped my employment saying I didn’t have a good enough reason to be off work. And I said, look, I’m in hospital, I was in hospital for a week plus time off to rest.”

“I also worked at a pub on a Saturday night, doing bar work, for about a year so. Sometimes if I was working Saturdays in the shop, I’d work there from opening till they shut, then I’d have two hours break and then work from eight till midnight at the pub. It was very hard, I mean it helped that I could wear what I wanted for both jobs, but all I had time for after the shop closed was to get a lift home, have something to eat, have a sit down for half an hour, change my shoes then I was on my feet again all night. There were some nights where I’d not get home until half twelve, one o’clock Sunday morning and then I’d be back at the shop later that morning.”

This really affected the relationship Katie had with her fiance and her family life, she couldn’t go to family get-togethers and things like that. She eventually left the pub too, a week before the first lockdown in March she says.

“So that was when I moved in with my partner in Nottingham. I’d known one of the people on YouCan [Ed. that’s one of Nottingham Jobs partner project for 16 to 24s] for a good few years and he was the one who told me about the group and that it’d help me within myself and help with employment because he knew I’d had a bit of a struggle with it in the past.”

“That was the only way I got out for a couple of weeks otherwise it would have been just me stuck in my house which wasn’t good for my mental health either. I’ve completed the course now, it was eight weeks, one day a week. I finished the course about three weeks ago now, but on the first or second week I was there I spoke to a guy who was from Futures and told him about my experience with running a business. I was in a competition called Young Enterprise when I was running my own business called Bundles Co, we were making gifts for baby showers and I loved that feeling of having my own company and he said there’s this business course that’s happening that’s a five day course, Monday to Friday, online. So he asked if I wanted him to put me forward and of course I said yes!”

So Katie’s finding out what drives her; business and helping others. She’s got qualifications now in running a business and entrepreneurial skills as well, thanks to being on YouCan, it made her realise that she’d also love to do what the support workers did to give back to the community. So it’s made her realise she wants to either run a business in a retail environment, be a support worker or maybe both.

“I’m looking for a part time job and I’m also looking to do some voluntary work in a youth centre part time to get my experience up because I know they look mainly for that. I’ve got loads of people I know who’ve done it for years so I know what it’s about and I know they’ll help me with what steps to take.”

Before I came onto YouCan I didn’t know what I was doing, I was lost, I didn’t know what day it was most of the time but having that one day a week has stopped me from being stuck in and it’s made me really passionate about looking for employment! I’m thinking about going back to college to get my English grade up because that’s stopping me from getting employment as well. I’ve had lots of support from my partner Paige but I want to be able to help her out with the costs of housing and things.”

Katie’s young, passionate, has a real determination to help herself and others and remain positive. What’s life and ongoing health issues taught her so far?

“Don’t sit and take things for granted or let people push you around, be who you want to be and don’t let anyone change you just because they don’t like who you are. I’m actually grateful that [Ed. my health conditions] happened, it’s made me realise that I don’t need to please everyone and that’s what’s made me even more positive, knowing that I’m being my true self.”

Find out more about how Nottingham Works and YouCan could help you.