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What our participants say


Our participants share there experience and successes on Fair Start Scotland.

  • Jamie from the Scottish Borders shares his experience of support from multiple Momentum services which he received after being made redundant.

    Before Jamie chose to take part in Fair Start Scotland he had been a long standing participant with Momentums Borders Brain Injury Service (BBIS).

    BBIS provided Jamie support in adjusting to the changes in his life when he was made redundant in May 2018 and referred him to colleagues on the Money Matters Project.
    The Money Matters Project was then able to give James the financial assistance which he needed. A benefit check was carried out and he was assisted with budgeting and utilities

    The Brain Injury service then suggested he speak to our Fair Start Scotland team who had a chat with Jamie and were struck by how keen and enthusiastic he was.

    Jamie sustained a brain injury at age 7 in a car accident, he spent close to a year in hospital recovering. Over the years since he left school he was in and out of work never quite sustaining work too long, in 2001 he joined the British Army Reserves serving in Iraq for 7 months and stayed in the reserves for nearly 5 years.

    When Jamie started Fair Start Scotland he wanted to find a job that he can sustain for a long period, Jamie and his advisor started his journey with some personal development including Health and Wellbeing, confidence, Skills and abilities and Jamie was also introduced to an Occupational Psychologist who could also support him on his journey.

    Jamie had Vocational Profiling which suggested he would be suited to a support role. We started looking at roles like this and a job came up with NHS Borders General Hospital as a hospital Porter.

    Jamie applied and stated that this would be his dream job as when he was in hospital for all the time he spent as a child as the support he received from the hospital staff was incredible and he wanted to give that same service back.

    When he heard he had an interview he was over the moon and spent two weeks in the momentum office every day preparing and researching. Other participants helped with mock interview as well as staff from all services it was a real team effort.

    When Jamie came in to tell all the staff and participants at one of the groups that he got the job we all erupted into cheers and there was certainly a few tears of joy.

    Although Jamie has successfully gained a new job he is still receiving support with the transfer to Universal Credits and can receive support from his Fair Start Scotland advisor for up to 12 months.

    Talking about his experience Jamie says his confidence and quality of life have dramatically improved.

  • An anonymous participant shares there experience of Fair Start Scotland

    An anonymous participant shares there experience of Fair Start Scotland which shows how Fair Start Scotland focuses on the individual and their own employment aspirations which for this participant was journalism and sports.

    We recently had a participant on the Fair Start service on with the desire to gain employment in the field of journalism and had a keen interest in sports.Due to being wheelchair bound however the participant relied heavily on support from family members and taxis to attend appointments and meetings which had a major impact on their confidence with people.

    As a result, part of the reason the participant decided to take part in Fair Start Scotland was to build and develop their confidence, alongside searching for employment in the area of their interested.

    During their initial one-to-one sessions it was decided the participant was not yet ready to participate in group sessions and wanted to extend communication solely with their key worker. This allowed there confidence to steadily developed, and they are now at the stage where they are willing to partake in group activities.

    This has allowed the participants increased confidence to be seen outside Fair Start Scotland sessions after being asked to follow certain actions in relation to the goal of obtaining a job in journalism. These tasks included searching for opportunities within the local football community and writing articles and posting them online.

    Since the start of the service, the participant has begun reporting for Youth Football Scotland and those reports have been published. The participant has completing assignments for a French football podcast and had a meeting with a local football club about becoming the official match reporter for their women's team.

    Additionally they have given a lecture to local university students last week on Disability awareness and will do more in the future. Finally, they have a meeting with Active schools about the possibility of gaining employment.

    As expected, thanks to the positive experiences the participant has had as a result of their participation in Fair Start Scotland and their dedication to achieving their goal of gaining employment has led to a drastic improvement in their confidence and them becoming increasingly more willing to partake in things out with their comfort zone. Tasks such as talking to a range of different people and travelling to different locations no longer appear to be as daunting.

  • Roy's Story

    Roy had started participating in Fair Start Scotland after he had been unemployed for a few years since leaving his job due to unforeseen circumstances.

    Roy felt that he needed support with CV building, cover letters and also help to get set up on Universal Credit which is why he decided to join Fair Start Scotland.

    Since joining Fair Start Scotland Roy was provided with support to build his confidence, create an email account and register on job search websites, search and apply for jobs that he was interested in and mock interviews to help grow his confidence.

    Roy has also started work on an online IT course to help develop his computer skills.

    Roy's confidence has developed a lot over the few months since joining Fair Start Scotland and each week he seems more confident with what he is doing. Roy can now access a computer with ease and manages the basic functions which he is continuing to develop his skills in.

    Roy has had a real interview since starting and he said he felt much more confident attending the interview because he had completed mock interviews.

    A barrier Roy faces in finding employment is that he lives in a remote location in Aberdeenshire which has little bus service available. Roy is also learning to drive at the moment so once he passes' his driving tests, he will have much more employment opportunities available to apply for.

    As Roy is lacking recent work experience, his advisor Rebekka suggested placement opportunities to Roy which he was very keen to engage in. Rebekka arranged for ROY to join the SCARF energy champion program which has been successful with other Fair Start Scotland participants.

    Roy met with Emma from Scarf and is very happy to be joining the program as it will provide him with recent certificates and give him various placement opportunities which will help him gain recent experience and open the door to other opportunities within the local area. This is a big achievement for Roy as he is pushing himself out with his comfort zone and engaging in something new which will help his employment journey.

    The feedback from Emma so far is that she feels Roy will get on great with the program and it will be a real success for him. Roy hopes this opportunity could lead to potential employment or future placements.

    Roy sent an email to Rebekka saying the following:

    "Hello Rebekka hopping you are fine, went to see Emma at Banff had a good talk with her. Will be starting on Tuesday, I am looking forward to starting. ECD going well. Thank again for all your help. Roy"

    It's great to hear Roy is thanking us for our help and that we are making a difference in his life. Roy has really engaged in the Fair Start Scotland service which great.

  • Megan's Fair Start Scotland Success

    Megan has previously participated in other employability programmes in the past and had been successful in finding work in her chosen career path. These positions however had always been of a temporary nature.

    The uncertainty of finding temporary work meant that Megan had to always keep one eye on applying for new jobs rather than focusing on the job she was in. Most recently Megan secured work as a Christmas temp at a local toy shop which she enjoyed doing and was disappointed when the time came for her to leave.

    After a period of unemployment, Megan was referred to Fair Start Scotland as she was finding it difficult to find work. Megan worked with Momentum to update her CV, gain support to write a personal statement and cover letters that could be adapted to different applications. In addition to this Megan took part in group sessions and developed her interview skills, this in turn resulted in an increase of confidence.

    4 months into the Fair Start Service Megan successfully gained permanent employment at her local supermarket. Reflecting on her experience Megan said

    "It has helped me a lot, my confidence and self-esteem was low before I started and now I feel confident about work and I would definitely recommend the service to other people."

  • Alexander shares his journey of Fair Start Scotland

    Alexander came along to Fair Start Scotland after being out of work for 4 months, Alexander has autism, ADD and poor eye sight however working together with his Advisor from Life Skills he had been building up his skills, confidence and had successfully got invited to many interviews but had been unable to secure a role.

    This was until an opportunity came to apply for a placement with Marks & Spencer’s, Alexander applied for opportunity and after successfully completing a trial month was offer a Christmas position!

    This is a fantastic success for Alexander that will allow him to build up practical experience, skills and confidence.

    Having started working already Alexander has reported to his adviser that he is thoroughly enjoying it

  • Success for Mark

    Mark was referred to the Fair Start Scotland service from his Aberdeen Job Centre in June.

    Although Mark has a previous work history, he had not worked since April 2016 where he was a support worker for almost 3 years. Mark had very little confidence and only really spoke when he was asked a question.

    Although only on the programme for a short time, an opportunity came up for a 4 week placement with Marks and Spencer's. I felt this would be a great opportunity for Mark and help to boost his confidence and interaction with other people with similar barriers to himself, Mark has Asperger's Syndrome but does not let this hold him back.
    After discussing the details of the placement with his adviser Mark was extremely keen, he attended a 2 hour info/interview session and felt it went well.

    A few days later Marks advice received the call that he had been successful and was going to start his placement where Mark was given the chance to work in the Homeware section.

    After the 4 weeks were completed Mark was offered a position with Marks and Spencer's. He was extremely happy and his advisor saw a great improvement in his confidence during this time. During a small presentation by the Momentum team Mark received a certificate for completing his placement, during which Mark was chatty and his confidence had improved.

  • Success for Morag

    Morag started the Fair Start Scotland service with a lack of confidence, high levels of anxiety and low self-esteem from all the changes she had recently had to work through due to health issues. She was unsure what type of work she should apply for and felt disheartened to start her career over again.

    Morag had previously worked in the care sector but due to a drastic change in her health was advised by her doctor to adjust her role due to the physical nature of the job. Morag was able to change to the house keeping side of care however she was then made redundant 4 months prior to joining Fair Start Scotland.

    Together with her advisor Morag worked through the possibilities of new career paths and discussed the concerns she has about retraining and changing sector if needed. Morag decided she would like to try some training in hospitality and with support looked at possible courses available in her area.

    Morag applied to college with support to complete the paperwork and was successfully invited for an interview for a Hospitality course. Morag said she was very anxious about the interview for her course so we worked through mock interviews and the most likely questions to be asked. On the run up to the interview Morag would write down any new concerns and with her advisor would address them at every appointment.

    Morag went to her appointment and was successful in being accepted into college.

    Morag went on to tell her advisor, if it wasn’t for Fair Start Scotland, she would have never taken the opportunity to retrain and get back into a learning environment.

    Morag is now looking forward to starting her hospitality course 3 days a week and is looking at a part time placement to gain work experience as she learns.

  • Richards Story

    Richard started taking part in the Fair Start Scotland service in August 2018, as he was desperately seeking a start on the employment ladder however felt his little experience and self-taught skills were holding him back from achieving his potential. 

    Our partners Lifeskills worked with Richard to address the initial issue of building his confidence and constructing a CV. This led to Richard obtaining some occasional work in warehousing and dispatch, but none that was sustainable and suited Richard's skill set, so his adviser worked with him to support Richard to find a job that was suited to his skills set.

    To support Richard to find a job that was sustainable and suited to his skill set his adviser assisted Richard with some financial issues which led him to have a more positive outlook on his future and allowed him to pursue new avenues.

    This has led to Richard getting funding through ILF arranged by his adviser that will be used to obtain a full driving licence by paying for his full set of driving lessons and both tests, which we hope to have started by 4th February.

    Richard is now able to volunteer at a Cancer Research Shop in Aberdeen for 2-3 days a week to gain valuable experience and develop his CV which will increase his employability immensely.

    Speaking about his time on Fair Start Scotland, working with Lifeskills richard said: 

    “Lifeskills has been a great programme that has developed my work ethics and social skills, it is a great opportunity for those starting from nothing and I would recommend it to everyone”

  • Greg's Success

    Greg was referred to the Fair Start Scotland service by his adviser at Aberdeen Job Centre in April, after his referral Greg attended an induction with our partners Lifeskills and felt that he would like to join the service.

    Greg has not worked since December 2014 so his adviser worked with him to update his CV and started to work through developing some of his employability skills.

    During this time an opportunity arose where Greg could do a four week placement with Marks and Spencer’s.

    Greg successfully completed his four week placement where he developed new skills, built confidence and had impressed so much that he was offered a contact with them on a monthly basis.

    Greg was given a position within operations and has been really enjoying the role and duties he is doing. Greg has successfully had his contact extended multiple time and will now be employed until March with the potential for this to be extended again.

    Talking about his experience on Fair Start Scotland Greg said he feels he is learning new skills and his confidence has greatly improved.

  • Joanna's Journey

    In May 2018, Joanna went to a meeting with a member of our partners, Aberdeen Foyer at the JIC in Fraserburgh, she had been given information about Fair Start Scotland and Momentum through her Work Coach with the JobCenter Plus. They though the service could be good for her because it would support her to gain skills and provide employability support needed to get back into work.

    Joanna had previously been in full time employment, but due to a decline in business, her hours had been reduced and she had eventually been laid off, she had been unsuccessful in finding any other employment since then and needed support to get a job. 

    Joanna had been applying for a whole range of jobs, with very little focus on the type of jobs she really would like to do if given the opportunity.

    After identifying this through discussions with her work coach, they focused there 1:1 sessions on the sector she preferred.  Joanna had spent a number of years caring for a family member and identified early on that she enjoyed the element of care deciding to focus on this, as she had previously studied and completed a course in Mental Health Awareness Level 1 through distant learning.  

    In the past 7 months Joanna and her work coach have focused their efforts on interview skills to enable her to gain employment as she felt she did not have the confidence or necessary skills to be able to sell herself as a suitable candidate. Joanna has gained these valuable skills through regular mock interviews which has increased her confidence and through constructive feedback has enabled her to develop her communication and interpersonal skills. 

    Another barrier Joanna had faced was understanding the importance of a personal statement, having previously not tailored it to suit the job descriptions or person skill specification, instead she had been using a basic example she had found on the internet.

    Joanna had received many interviews and was really struggled to get past the interview process but with determination despite the continuous rejections attended an interview and managed to get past these barriers.

    Prior to all interviews Joanna has gathered all the vital information from the company website which could help her at interview stage by helping her understand what services the company offered, care commission report and other information. Joannas work coach also printed her off copies of her original application, CV and cover letter and revisited and reviewed her interview skills until she stated that she felt a lot more confident in speaking about herself and her experiences.  

    Joanna has since been offered a position within the company, and the company have offered to pay for her PVG, subject to references Joanna should get a full offer of employment and a start date!

    Joanna applied for this position herself without the help of her work coach and explained later how she only had the confidence to do so after working with Fair Start Scotland. Joanna has also said that the interview went well and was similar to other care interviews she has attended, she felt that her interview skills training and mock interview prep had equipped her well to answer the questions asked.

    Joanna is delighted to have found employment and hopes the company will invest in her future, by allowing her to complete an SVQ3 in Health and Social Care as by completing the SVQ she will develop her knowledge base and improve her practice while she works.

  • M's Story

    M joined the Fair Start Scotland service in October and was unsure of what career path he wanted to pursue. In particular, M was torn between working in care, working on trains and working as an actor. When he initially started the programme, M struggled with his CV as it needed modified. This, in addition to his lack of interview experience and being unsure of how to complete application forms were his main barriers to employment.

    During his time on the service, His Key Worker was able to work with M within the sessions to improve his interview skills and was able to practise completing application forms in order to give him more experience.

    In January 2019, M entered the training centre with his confidence shaken due to not having an employment opportunity on the horizon. His Key Worker was able to speak to him and work with him to successfully re-modified his CV for a second time whilst being on the service. This CV was then disrupted to employers at a local recruitment fair.

    This event proved to be constructive when one of the employers offered M an interview. Within the weeks prior to the interview, M and his Key Worker worked together on interview skills in preparation. He was very excited about the opportunity as there was a possibility of full-time employment in a care role.

    Soon after the interview, M was informed he had been successful in gaining the role. M has since signed his full-time contract which starts in April and is very excited to begin working in a role he wants to do. After he was given the confirmation he told his key worker he was “really pleased and delighted to start soon”.

  • Kay's Success

    Kay decided to take part in Fair Start Scotland as she felt it would give her the little extra support she needed to find a job, this was because Kay has a very mild learning disability and as a single parent her time and focus had been spent on bringing up her two children on her own which meant she had been unemployed for a long period of time.

    Kay had mentioned to her Job Coach that she felt a lack of confidence due to not being able to work and spending time raising her family. To support her with this Kay had been attending Personal Development sessions with her Job Coach and has excelled within the group session. Kay also participated in Mock Interviews to help her for future interviews.

    As Kays background was a Housemaid for 7 years before giving birth to her daughter, she decided that she would like to find a job that was similar. To support her with this Kay met with Dan, Momentums Employer Engagement Manager who then put Kay forward for an interview as a cleaner with a local company. Kay attended her interview and has now secured a permanent position with the company for a 20 hour contract.

    Afterwards Kay very kindly handed in a thank you card and chocolates to the Momentum office saying a very big Thank you for helping me get a job and an extra big thank you to Deborah (Job Coach) and also Dan (EE) I appreciate all your help.