Elen’s story

My name is Elen. I am 27 years old and originally from Armenia. I moved to UK in 2013.

Currently I do not work and therefore I was referred to the Croydon IPS team. I was allocated to my employment specialist Aaliyah.

Because of my severe social anxiety I find it hard to be engaged in society and workplace. I am withdrawn and barely talk even when I’m among people.

This is my difficulty and I wanted to overcome it, to be free in my body movements and to be engaged easily. Also to raise my confidence and feel at ease among people without overthinking and without making mental barriers.

Aaliyah did a great job. She is fantastic professionally and as a person. She found me many relevant job opportunities according to my interests, such as a modelling volunteer job and workshops.

She enthusiastically encouraged me to go to a hair salon for an apprenticeship programme and she raised my confidence by teaching me special phrases to be successful in my job interviews.

Aaliyah also referred me to Smart Works organisation, who provided me with a work coaches and relevant clothing to wear at my job.

She also referred me to Groundwork scheme, where Paul (my advisor) was excellent too in raising my confidence and helping me a lot with my CV, cover letter, finding activities and encouraging me.

Aaliyah always went the extra mile to help me even with my housing situation, advising me on legal aspects and advising on organisations that can help me.

My confidence and self-esteem were boosted, I learned a lot about jobs and volunteering. I improved a lot with my professional presentation during job interviews. Modelling workshops with Models of Diversity uplifted me as I was warmly welcomed and embraced by the team.

I was successful with Models of Diversity programme and officially offered a volunteering position. I also participated in their workshops with professional photoshoot. I was also successful at gaining an apprenticeship with the hair salon too.

Huge thanks to my lovely care coordinator Doreen, who referred me to Aaliyah. Aaliyah was just outstanding and superb in all the way through my work journey in past year. I am also very grateful to an amazing Paul, who also helped me a lot through Groundwork. Tayo from Groundwork was brilliant too. Thanks to the whole team – I highly recommend them!