Your teenage years are usually stressful enough without being uprooted 120 miles up the M5 just two months before sitting GCSE exams.
This is the situation 17-year-old Georgie Townsend found herself in when her and her elder sister and mum moved from Devon to Gloucestershire so that they could be closer to their grandparents who were in poor health.
Exacerbated by the uncertainty in her family life, Georgie developed severe anxiety and left school with poor grades before dropping out of college a year later. She maintains that she was pressured into taking a course that she didn’t really have a passion for.
“I couldn't stand the idea of going to a college and I just wanted to get straight into work. My main passion is photography but because of deadlines I ended up doing Level 1 Hospitality and Catering which was rubbish and I dropped out in February 2018 after about a year,” Georgie explains.
“I hated travelling on a bus three times a week as it really didn’t help my anxiety and then I started getting bullied by so-called friends which made me believe that the whole world hated me.”
A neighbourhood coach was already in touch with the family when Georgie being a NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) was referred on to Bromford employment coach Zoe Butler in May 2018 for support. Within a few sessions, the previously quiet and reserved teenager had opened up to Zoe and started to tell her about her future aspirations of running her own photography business.
Zoe said: “I had never worked with someone as young as Georgie before but having had to get a job at 11 myself, I saw a lot of her situation in me and that probably drove my desire to help her even more. In many respects, she was a special case really. Because of her previous experiences on the catering course, she didn’t want to complete an apprenticeship and just wanted to get straight into work so it was getting that across on her CV really and appealing to an employer to almost take a chance on her. Her passion lies in photography and being creative and it was getting this passion and ambition across to people.”
A single paragraph listing (mainly) her faults along with a mistyped telephone number was the sum total of Georgie’s CV when she first started working with Zoe but a change in outlook and then several visits to nearby job clubs helped to start shift the youngsters’ mindset and belief in what she could achieve.
“I’d been applying for literally anything – pubs, retail, restaurants, catering. And they said they didn’t really hire people until they were 18 so I really struggled,” Georgie went on.
“Then this wonderful person came into my life and she really made me open up. You know those people you meet in life and straight away, they put you at ease? Zoe is one of those people and she’s far better than the counsellor I had for four years previous to meeting her.
“I’m definitely a lot more bubbly and confident now talking to people. I still have those days where I don’t want to leave the house and feel like crying but those days are far less now.”
Georgie has now had several interviews and job trials as she improves her experience and edges ever closer to finding employment.
Zoe added: “I can’t describe how proud I am of the progress Georgie has made and she has come so close to securing a role recently that I have no doubt the right one will come along soon enough. The world really is her oyster and with just a little nudge in the right direction she has made tremendous strides and I can’t wait to see her blossom now and move from strength to strength.”
Talk to your neighbourhood coach if you feel you need extra support from one of our trained employment coaches.