A GREAT Project participant starts their dream career

Eleni came into contact with the GREAT Project when her aunt told her about what the project does.

Eleni came into contact with the GREAT Project when her aunt told her about what the project does. Her aunt was at Loughborough Jobcentre when she discovered the GREAT Project, and she thought Eleni would benefit from signing up. When Eleni agreed, it was her aunt that referred her.

“I felt I had to do something because my anxiety was getting worse and I knew I needed to find my way.”

Diana was appointed as Eleni’s Employment Support Officer (ESO) at the beginning of her time with the project. But when Diana went to meet with Eleni for the first time, it was Eleni’s aunt that came. Unfortunately, as Eleni suffered so much with her anxiety, she felt too nervous to meet with Diana herself so she sent her aunt. Over time, Diana was able to build a bond with Eleni, which meant they could work together to create a support plan tailored to Eleni’s needs.

Eleni told Diana that she wanted to become more confident and be able to communicate with others, so she could fulfil her dream of owning her own hair salon. Diana recommended various activities for Eleni to take part in, including work club and in-house workshops. Whilst at work club, Eleni was able to work on her CV, as well as her personal statement and cover letter. She then took part in multiple in-house workshops, including budgeting, interview techniques and managing return to work. Accessing all these sessions encouraged Eleni to communicate with others and slowly she began to feel more comfortable.

Eleni’s biggest turning point came from the confidence building course she went on. This course runs for three consecutive days, and encourages participants to communicate and work together in order to finish activities. It really helps to break down barriers and allows participants the chance to bond with others.

Another one of the activities Eleni accessed was a behind the scenes tour organised by delivery partner, Business in the Community. Eleni found this helpful as it gave her the opportunity to talk to employers and see what being in a working environment felt like.

Speaking of her time on the project, Eleni said:

“I really enjoyed my time with the project. It gave me the confidence I needed and I felt safe talking with, and meeting, new people. I don’t feel lost anymore and I’m leaving the project doing what I’ve always wanted to do.”

Diana said:

“Eleni has come so far, I barely recognise her. She was so shy at the start that it wasn’t even her I met with, and now she’s a confident young woman. Her drive and focus whilst on the project was outstanding – she was so engaged ALL the time. I’m so proud of all she’s achieved and wish her all the best for the very bright future she has ahead of her.”

Eleni completed her time with the project and recently began an apprenticeship at a Loughborough-based hair salon.