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How Penny gained new confidence


For lots of moms with young children, work-life balance is key when returning to work. However, when you lack confidence and feel you lack the ability to successfully complete job applications it can seem even harder.

Penny from Stourport was volunteering at a charity retail store, when Laura (a job coach) from Vestia received a referral from the Job Centre to help her get back into work.

Originally, Penny was referred to the Vestia Employability Skills recruitment session, but they felt that she would benefit from receiving 1-2-1 support on the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme.

Although Penny didn’t feel her CV was up to scratch and hadn’t ever used a cover letter, her job coach worked with her to create an action plan of her priority areas to focus on and improve. They worked through these together, slowly building Penny’s confidence and putting into place an improved CV and cover letter. She was supported with completing job applications, highlighting her skills and attributes, whilst also working on her interview skills and preparation.

Penny has two young children, so she was keen to find work that suited her childcare responsibilities and/or identify suitable childcare that would fit around her needs.

During her time on the BBO programme, Penny identified a paid retail charity job that she was extremely keen to apply for and met with her job coach for support in completing this. She was much more confident completing the application and was successful with being invited to interview. Although nervous, she was also really excited about the prospect of working within the charity sector. Penny felt confident with her interview and a few days later was offered the job. With Penny due to start work at the beginning of the Summer holidays, it was necessary for her to seek childcare, so with her job coach’s support they were able to identify the most suitable and affordable childcare.

Penny began working as an Assistant Manager across two charity stores in July 2019. She said: “I’m so glad to be back in work and off benefits and I feel financially more stable and my confidence and motivation has drastically increased. Laura was amazing in helping me get my job. I am now earning for my children and I am so proud when I walk from work to pick up my children in my uniform, it makes me feel so much better about myself.”

Laura has subsequently visited Penny at her workplace and said: “It was so lovely to see Penny in work, she is such an outgoing, confident character and she just seemed to fit right in at the charity shop. The comparison between when I first met Penny and now with her being back in work is amazing, it’s fantastic to see how finding suitable work can give someone so much more self-worth and belief.”

Our Building Better Opportunities programme is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the National Lottery Community Fund designed to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion throughout Worcestershire.

If you or anyone you know would benefit from the support of a dedicated Job Coach who will work with you to build on your own strengths and abilities to gain the confidence and skills to move into work please get in touch, call 01562 733133, or email