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Initially, I came to Môn CF because I’d heard from a friend that they could help me learn to drive. Soon after signing up I was offered a space on a course of weekly revision sessions, at the end of which I sat and passed my driving theory test. During this period I became pregnant with my third child, and so I chose to put the support I was receiving on hold until after he was born. When he was a few months old I returned to Môn CF for help to find a job. My dream was to become a Healthcare Support Worker but, given that I was mum to three young children and was relying on public transport in one of the most rural areas of Anglesey, the journey ahead of me was a daunting prospect.
Yes, as well as completing the driving theory course I qualified as a First Aider. Because of my interest in working in healthcare, my Employment Support Mentor suggested I put my name forward for the ‘Step into Work’ programme, which Môn CF deliver in partnership with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB). I was successful in gaining a place on the programme, and went on to complete a series of ‘Icebreaker’ sessions, a full NHS ‘Orientation’, and a training package made up of classroom and web-based training. Having already passed my theory test, Môn CF were also able to make a financial contribution towards practical driving lessons.
Yes, as part of the ‘Step into Work’ programme I completed a six-week work placement on Enlli Ward in Ysbyty Gwynedd. This was a huge challenge in lots of different ways – not only was I learning to care for patients in a busy, fast-paced healthcare setting, but I was still in the process of learning to drive, and public transport simply wasn’t an option due to shift times and childcare arrangements. It was tough, but with the support of friends, family and colleagues I got through it and enjoyed every minute on the ward. Môn CF and the DWP’s Parents Childcare and Employment project (PaCE) covered my travel costs, which was an important factor in me being able to complete my placement.
Following my successful completion of the ‘Step into Work’ programme, I have now been accepted onto BCUHB’s Nurse Bank as a Healthcare Support Worker, and I am doing as many shifts as I can every week! I’m working on a variety of wards, learning something new every day. This honestly is my dream role, and I’m absolutely loving it. The icing on the cake is that a few weeks ago I passed my driving test. Everything has come together for me; my life is on track and I’m so happy.
Môn CF have been amazing with me. Before I went to them I was ‘Mum’. I’d been out of work since before the birth of my first child, and I felt extremely isolated living in a rural area without the ability to drive. Now I have my own car, I’m doing my dream job, my children have settled well into school and nursery, and I’ve even started looking into buying the house I currently rent.
Today I’m still ‘Mum’, but I’m also ‘Melissa’.