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Momentum Skills’ Work Choice Programme Helps Paisley Woman Secure Dream Job

Momentum Skills’ Work Choice Programme Helps Paisley Woman Secure Dream Job

Photographer Gillian Bowie in her studio at her “dream job” she secured at Premier Housewares following support from Momentum Skills’ Work Choice programme.

A Paisley woman, who had been out of work for 15 months and found it difficult to get a job due to her hearing impairment, is back in the workplace thanks to the support provided by Momentum Skills’ Work Choice programme.

Gillian Bowie, age 33, has secured her dream job as a photographer with a home furnishings business – despite facing barriers to employment due to communication problems and the need to use lip reading techniques. 

Despite her self confidence being initially dented, Gillian is enjoying her new lease of life – work wise, socially and financially - thanks to the programme’s coaching which has helped her get a full time role with Premier Housewares in Glasgow.

Gillian is a qualified photographer who had her own business focusing on the weddings market, but found that her communication difficulties meant it was difficult to win work. As a result she subsidised her business working in a bar. When she was made redundant from the bar, her confidence dropped and she found it difficult to get another job.

Gillian’s employment support officer encouraged and supported her to take the first steps into the work environment again – and to focus on fulfilling her aspirations by utilising her skills to get a full time role behind the camera.

Work Choice is a Government supported employment programme designed to assist people with disabilities find and maintain employment. Work Choice also aims to support employers in employing more disabled people.

Gillian was assisted in a variety of ways including help to tailor her CV, contacting employers to negotiate on her behalf, brushing up her interview technique and her support worker attended her job interviews.

Gillian said:  “Momentum Skills’ Work Choice programme has been great for me.  I had been looking for a full time job for 15 months but as soon as people read on my CV that I was deaf, they presume there will be insurmountable communication problems. This was a major setback to me, even in getting interviews for jobs.

“But the support I received has been tremendous in building up my confidence and making me believe that I would be able to get my dream job doing photography.”

Her new role involves photographing the wide product range at her employer – everything from toothbrushes to dining tables – which are then used in customer catalogues and websites. As this role was previously outsourced, Gillian had to quickly create her own studio from an empty room, and is now helping to develop the company’s imaging department.

“I love what I am doing and it is very interesting photographing all the different products,” said Gillian.

“The job has also had a big positive impact on my life and has helped me so much in rebuilding my confidence. I am now part of a great team doing what I have always wanted to do, and getting paid for it!”

Momentum Skills delivers the Work Choice programme in the Paisley and Glasgow areas in partnership with the Scottish Association for Mental Health. It offers employers a tailored package of support, enabling them to offer work experience placements and job opportunities to disabled people participating in the programme.

Gillian adds: “I want to emphasise that none of this would have happened if it had not been for my support worker Maureen Merrick at SAMH and Work Choice. I can’t thank them enough as I am now working in a job I have always aspired to. Life is brilliant just now.”

To find out more about the programme, ask at your local Jobcentre Plus or contact the Momentum Work Choice programme team on 0141 333 0567.