Caitlin Newell – Sandwell Startship 2021

Caitlin started our prgramme back in August 2021 and has since went from strength to strength with her new found confidence. Our Startship programme was a great opportunity for Caitlin to push herself and meet new people. We had a catch up with Caitlin below to summarise her time with Release Potential.

What were you doing before you started the programme?
Caitlin had not held a job since leaving college and spent three years trying to find work. She had one interview over this time before taking her Startship with Release Potential. Caitlin was interested in artistic/creative jobs and roles working with animals but did not find many of these opportunities available so had focussed on the retail sector more recently.

How did you find out about the training?
Her Work Coach told her about the course explaining it would be a good step for her and help to improve her confidence. She was introduced to an Advisor from Release Potential who was in the Job Centre and explained the course to her in more detail.

Why did you decide to join?
The Advisor described a creative team activity that would be a part of the course. Caitlin was attracted to this, thought it might be fun and decided to give it a try.

What did you think of the training? How did it help you?
During the first two days of the course, Caitlin worked with a group of people she didn’t know, taking the role of the photographer in the team activity saying, “I enjoyed learning about editing and using different cameras. It helped my confidence, and I enjoyed working with and getting on with new people I didn’t know.”
She enjoyed the ‘Market Place’ event, finding out about job opportunities in the area, including with the NHS, West Midlands Metro and some retail jobs. She particularly found the daily vacancy update useful. Caitlin says, “The interview practice was very helpful, getting tips about things to ask, how to write my CV and come across well on paper to possible employers. I applied for a few roles during the course which didn’t come off, but it was still good practice for me.”

Were there any barriers or obstacles you had to overcome?
“I needed to build my confidence back up after three years of being unemployed. I was also nervous to participate in the group presentation but overcame this and took part.”

What are you doing now?
“I started a job at Superdrug at first but wasn’t happy and didn’t stay long. I’d also applied for a role at B&M in West Bromwich and have just started a Kickstart role with them as a Retail Assistant. I’ve been given the opportunity to try working in different departments including warehousing, using the till and interacting with customers, stock control and replenishment to help find the right role for me.”

What impact has the training had on your life?
“I’ve had a turn-around in my confidence, am more comfortable speaking to new people and I’ve found I can adjust quickly when I have a new job to do.
The course helped me to get the job. I’m better at saying the right things and have a greater awareness of body language.”

What are your plans for the future?
“I’m going to do my best at B&M and am hoping they will keep me on if the budget allows.
If not, I now have the confidence to apply for a wider range of jobs and can offer my retail skills to other employers.”

What would you say to someone who was thinking about doing the training but wasn’t sure?
“Just go for it. You’ll have a good experience and meet new people. I even made some new friends on the course and have kept in touch with them.”

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