Annette’s Story

It is never an easy step leaving a job you are unhappy in – especially when the next step is an unknown – but working in a job which causes inordinate amounts of stress takes its toll.

Annette, a mother of two, left a stressful role with the NHS following years of feeling overworked and unsupported. She was determined to make something of herself, she wanted to excel, but the job market had changed so much since she last searched for work; she found herself unable to secure a new role.

Annette signed on with the Job Centre, and started receiving benefits. She recalls her feelings at the time: “I thought, I don’t want to stay on income support. I’m a mother of two. I’m fit, I’m healthy.” But for two years Annette struggled with the numeracy and literacy tests which now formed part of many healthcare application processes.Outdoor portrait ofhappy middle aged woman in an autumn park

Recognising a gap in her knowledge Annette decided to enrol with Kings College to work towards certificates in Maths and English. Annette attended college three days a week, but without a wage coming in she struggled to maintain payments for her house. Annette worried about losing her home: “I’d lived in my house for 17 years. But my rent was in arrears, and they were going to take me to court.”

Annette was put in touch with the Cardinal Hume Centre, and things very quickly started to change. Natalie in our housing team was able to help her with her arrears case. Annette also attended the weekly Jobs Club on a Wednesday where she received help from Richard in the employment team, and she started one-to-one maths lessons with one of our teaching volunteers, Maria.

“When I came to the Centre things were so hard,” said Annette. “But I was given a good welcome. I was happy to have found people who put me at ease.”

Annette’s confidence grew as she worked with Richard and Maria. She knew that in order to achieve her goals she would have to work hard; she didn’t expect to get something for nothing. She told herself often: “Don’t give up until you win. Persist. Persist.”

Annette set her sights on securing a job at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where she had often dreamed of working. She applied for a position as a Health Care Assistant in the famous children’s hospital. Her previous experience in the NHS lent itself well to the role, and she was over the moon when she received an invitation for an interview.

Richard helped Annette prepare for her interview, giving tips and advice on how to present her skills and experience.  He also put her in touch with Smart Works, a charity working with women looking for work, they provided Annette with a smart interview outfit. Richard also organised transport for Annette and helped her find directions to the interview venue. With Richard’s encouragement Annette felt positive: “I was confident because of the tips Richard had given me. He told me – ‘Be yourself, and know that the job will be yours.’”

The competition was tough; over 100 people had applied for the role at Great Ormond Street. When Annette got the call saying she had got the job she felt like all her dreams had come true. After two years without a job her hard work and persistence had finally paid off.

Annette started work in January 2015, working four days a week, and she can’t speak highly enough of her new employers and colleagues: “The managers look after you, they’re so supportive. You’re not overworked, you’re not stressed. We work as a team.”

She was very keen to share her gratitude with everyone involved at the Cardinal Hume Centre, as well as encouraging those in need to seek help:

“I thank the people who are giving money, God bless them. Without the Cardinal Hume Centre I wouldn’t have got my dream job. This place is the best, it has everything. It’s not just for the homeless; it’s for each and every one. I can’t thank the Centre enough. If you need any help come to the Cardinal Hume Centre, your life will never be the same again. The Cardinal Hume Centre will open doors that were never open before. Everyone needs support, but they can only help if you ask.”

*A stock image has been used.