SW was referred to the Open Choice programme for care leavers (NEET) in October 2018. At a very low point, SW sought support in finding suitable employment in the health and wellbeing market. After further discussion with SW, her Personal Advisor agreed she could benefit from the Bridging the Gap (BTG) personalised learning programme. SW attended the first session and then indicated that it was not for her, however she returned to the programme two weeks later. This enabled her to access the Life Coaching and Mentoring targeted support offered by BTG. With strategic intervention SW was able to identify the barriers that had prevented her to date from completing long term sustainable employment. Amidst the many challenges that SW was facing at the time, she not only completed the programme but gained her Level 1 Money Management Qualification.

In November 2018, upon completion of the BTG course, I continued to provide advice and guidance to SW, exploring employment and training opportunities (including the Barnet Apprenticeship offer). SW felt a traineeship would best suit her needs and agreed to move onto the 16-week traineeship with Skills Training. SW continued her mentoring support with BTG, however she experienced some setbacks and needed space to resolve personal issues, she disengaged from our services.

In January 2019, I contacted SW to find out if her circumstances had improved and to inform her that she could continue her mentoring with BTG. SW responded with a renewed sense of purpose and having moved into a new accommodation; she was determined to achieve her goals. With support from her mentors and personal and careers advisor, she began her journey of developing her enterprise and entrepreneur skills. She began making soaps, bath salts, bath milk and scented candles.

In April 2019 she was offered employment in Kent two days a week to further develop her skills in making soaps etc. At first, she was apprehensive about travelling from London to Kent weekly and her performance in the new role. With support from her BTG mentors, she was not just able to accept the role but to thrive in it. Six weeks after being in the job, she was offered a managerial role.

SW’s Goal is to set up her own business. She has managed (with the help of her personal advisor) to secure a small grant to purchase raw materials for her products. She has been allowed to showcase her products at the Care Leaving Centre. She is now working on her business plan.

In SW’s own words, “I am very happy, life is good, and I am looking forward to the next chapter.” “It is so fulfilling having something to look forward to.”

SW has gained valuable life and employability skills, started her own business and gained an extensive new network of people.