May 30, 2017

Kristina moves up to Head Office

Laptop and glasses - Splash

I was sentenced to twelve months in jail. Before that, my goal was to qualify as a solicitor. I’d worked at two international law firms and never imagined I would find myself a prisoner at Holloway.

On the day of my conviction, even as I stood in the dock, my only thought was not to let this pull me down forever.  I wasn’t sure how.  on the day I arrived at prison I signed up for education classes, and it was through this that I heard about Working Chance. After reading one of their pamphlets in the library I decided this was how I would start to fix things. It took six weeks to persuade the education team to invite Working Chance in, and I had to get a petition together with eight other women before the education department agreed to our request.

“Before I met with Working Chance, I worked with my husband on editing my CV, which he was able to send to me in prison. I needed to find work straight after my release as my family was relying on me. Financially the conviction had crippled us; I was over £500 in debt.  But I’d refused to go bankrupt and promised my creditors I would repay them no matter what.

My Working Chance recruitment consultant and I worked together on my CV to highlight my transferable skills and when I was released on probation, I immediately started a 12-week employability course run by Working Chance.

My Working Chance recruitment consultant and I worked together on my CV to highlight my transferable skills and when I was released on probation, I immediately started a 12-week employability course run by Working Chance.

This helped me to build up my confidence about disclosing my criminal record, applying for work and talking about my conviction at interviews. It was with the help of Working Chance that I began volunteering for the charity Restart (formerly the Astell Foundation). I had to prove my integrity – this can only be done through working and showing you can be trusted.  In the meantime, I’d given birth to a baby son and having him made me all the more determined never to give up.

“Six months later,  Working Chance told me there was a job working for Pret A  Manger’s UK managing director. She gave me a chance and I accepted a temporary post as her admin assistant.  I’ve now worked at Pret for three years. I’m a permanent employee and have gained responsibilities as I’ve progressed. If it wasn’t for Working Chance I would never have been given the opportunity to work for a company like Pret – and if it wasn’t for Pret I would never have had the chance to turn my life around.

Two things are needed for people in my position: absolute determination to turn things around and a helping hand – like Working Chance - to get there. Without this, there is no hope.

I’ve reduced half my debt to my creditors through working hard, which I’m proud of and continue to pay off. Two things are needed for people in my position: absolute determination to turn things around and a helping hand – like Working Chance - to get there.  Without this, there is no hope.