Karm shops for success and secures a position in retail

24-year-old Karm from Luton, joined Kennedy Scott’s European Social Fund match-funded Specialist Employability Support programme in January 2016.

Karm who has ADHD and was suffering from poor mental health said: “I found being unemployed really hard. Having ADHD meant I was constantly bored and it makes it hard for me to sit and concentrate and persevere with application forms. This led to me being depressed and agitated. I had so much energy and loyalty to give, yet it was being wasted”.

At the time, Karm wasn’t taking her medication for her anxiety, depression and ADHD conditions regularly, which meant she wasn’t able to manage them effectively. Her Kennedy Scott Caseworker included her mother in her Circle of Support and together they helped her establish a routine for her to take her medication as directed by her doctor. This helped regulate her moods and her temperament improved greatly.

Karm’s Caseworker, Donna Weston, said: “I believe through our straight talking around her medication, asking direct questions and including her Mother in her Circle of support, we were able to build a rapport very quickly and gain her trust”.

With her Caseworker’s support, Karm updated her CV, wrote cover letters and searched and applied to jobs, predominantly in retail. She also attended a number of courses to improve her confidence and gain skills. This included a GOALS sessions, which focuses on confidence and motivation building, which she said helped her to feel more “optimistic and positive” about her future. In addition, Karm gained qualifications in Maths and IT through the Community Training Portal.

Donna said: “Karm was very open to ideas, training and jobsearching sessions, which she attended at every opportunity. We had an open door policy that she found really helped, if she had any problems or concerns she would turn to us at KS and we would support her”.

By this point, Karm began to give back, supporting her peers to complete their jobsearch sessions and in particular those who struggle with IT. Her Caseworker describes her as having “a natural way with other customers and an understanding of their learning styles”.

On the back of her using her initiative to help others, Kennedy Scott offered Karm the opportunity to volunteer with Kennedy Scott. This helped to build her confidence and improved her communication skills in a professional environment.

Soon after, she was offered an interview with a leading health and beauty retailer. After impressing the hiring manager, Karm was offered employment.

Since securing employment, Karm’s confidence has grown yet again and she has progressed in work by supporting other new recruits. She now feels that she is making a positive contribution to society, which has improved her self-esteem.

Securing a job “means the absolute world" to Karm. She said: “I am so proud of myself for securing my job, it has changed me as a person".

And her eagerness to help others to achieve their potential is still there. She said “Working with KS and securing a job that I enjoy has made me want to help others who are going through the battle that I went through to secure a job.

“Kennedy Scott has had a major impact on me, both in a work context and in my day to day life. I feel that because of the help from these amazing people, who didn’t give up on me, I have become a more stable, mature young lady who knows what she wants from life.

“I have confidence in myself now and it has given me an addiction to learning and persevering in everything I do, not just in work but also in my private life too. I have learnt never to give up and that if I want something enough I will achieve it.

“This support has shown me that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel and to always follow my dreams”.

Less than a year into her role, Karm has progressed once again and has been promoted to Store Supervisor. Karm went up against internal and external competition before being given the new role. She is now responsible for staff, taking in stock, replenishment and dealing with customer comments and complaints.