Case study

Liz: This gives me a great chance to get into teaching and take control of my life

How Liz overcame her low self-esteem to get a teaching job and is now helping another family grow closer and develop their skills together.

Liz hadn’t worked for a number of years and she had suffered from mental health problems since her teens which had probably contributed to her making some unwise choices in life. She had managed to gain a teaching qualification about 20 years ago but had never been able to secure any work as a teacher.

When Julie, a Jobcentre Plus Community Outreach Adviser, first met her she had no confidence, self-esteem or belief in her own abilities. She was claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and was taking anti-depressant medication which her doctor had recently increased.

Getting on the right path

Julie described how she supported Liz using the social justice principles to help her become employed, independent and self sufficient.

I worked quite intensively with Liz, encouraging and motivating her as well as supporting her in the development of her IT and digital skills. We met several times a week and looked at her transferable skills, created a CV, registered her on jobsites and practised rehearsed mock interviews.

Julie also suggested that Liz should look into offering her services as a private tutor as it would boost her confidence and give her some current work experience and references. Liz liked this idea and quickly found a couple of students who required some extra help in the lead up to exams.

Helping one another

Shortly after this Julie started working with a family where the mother, Imogen, could not read or write due to a fear of letters. Imogen had previously refused to open any post as the sight of mail frightened her. Her children had recently started school which they really enjoyed and now their mother wanted to help them learn to read and write.

Imogen said:

I tried a basic literacy course but just couldn’t cope with the classroom group setting and really felt I needed to have some one to one support to help me.

Julie remembered Liz had recently refreshed her teaching skills and had undertaken some dyslexia and basic numeracy and literacy training for working with adult learners. She thought that working with Imogen would be ideal and very helpful to them both.

Social justice in action

Julie said:

This is social justice in action, people taking responsibility to help others improve their lives. Everyone has benefited from this. The change in Liz is so obvious to everyone, she is literally glowing and has become so much more confident and self sufficient. Imogen’s family are growing closer by the day and are all learning and developing skills together which can only make for a brighter future.

Liz has since been offered a part time teaching position at her local school where they will sponsor her while she refreshes her teacher training. Liz said:

This now gives me a great chance to get into teaching and a job and take control of my life. I could never have dreamt of any of this happening 6 months ago.

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