Sharen decided to attend a Steps to Excellence course at local Online Centre Zest for Work - part of the Department of Work and Pensions’ new form of employment support, Journey to Employment, which they trialled in different locations around the country. It’s designed specifically for people with a health condition who would like to get back into work.
Sharen explains: “The course gave me answers and turned my life around. It opened my eyes and made me feel like anything was possible. As part of the course, my advisor suggested we set up 16 hours a week doing voluntary work and that’s how I became a volunteer at the centre.”
Zest wanted Sharen to help out with their ESOL classes. Initially, her tasks involved giving out worksheets to learners or setting up the classroom, but her tutor was quick to recognise her abilities and gave her more responsibility.
“One day the teacher asked me to help her with delivering the class,” explains Sharen. “She asked what kind of things I thought we should be teaching to the learners.
“I quickly went from photocopying papers to sitting with little groups of learners and working through the course materials and activities. I also helped them out on the computers when they came in to search for work or do little pieces of learning online.”