Blog, Campaign | 08 March 2024

Boosting brilliance: unlock confidence and transform lives this International Women's Day

Finding a job when you have a conviction is tough for anyone, but for women with convictions in particular, sometimes the struggle lies in finding the confidence to move on and build their career.

Nicola found herself with a conviction and out of a job, all because of how things ended with her abusive ex-partner. Piece by piece, she has built her confidence back up and is now in a great job where she can support her son.

Show your solidarity

This International Women’s Day we ask you to show your solidarity to women who have been through the justice system. The difference your donation will make is utterly transformative: you’ll help women like Nicola build the confidence they need to find their dream job.

Nicola had managed to get out of an abusive relationship, but due to ongoing harassment from her ex-partner, was forced to leave her job.

“The relationship was great at first but quickly turned very abusive. I left, but went back to him because I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I reported it, but the police didn’t protect me. Then things got a lot worse and turned very violent, so I left and got a restraining order.”

The relationship was great at first but quickly turned very abusive. Things got a lot worse and turned very violent, so I left and got a restraining order.


“I faced harassment from him and one of his friends. Despite reporting it to the police multiple times, he continued to harass me. This continued for years, and he remained working with children. I informed his employer of what he’d done because I found it unacceptable. I was arrested for Malicious Communication. I received a conviction and had to complete 60 hours of community service.”

Eager for a fresh start, Nicola left her job and started a university degree.

“My son was about seven at the time and had recently been diagnosed with autism. I told my university lecturer what had happened, and he really tried to support me to continue on the course. But it was taking a toll on me mentally. I thought: I’m a single parent to my son, that’s the only job I can do right now, so everything else fell to the wayside.”

Life after a conviction

Nicola felt that the police hadn’t taken her seriously. She received support from a women’s charity to open a complaint with the police department for mishandling her initial reports.

“The charity wrote to the police, came to meetings with me and in the end the police apologised to me in a meeting. The officers involved were given words of advice and retraining.

"Then the charity offered me a job working for them! I accepted because they’d really fought for my rights. I wanted to help other women do that.”

After a while, Nicola realised she was ready for something new. Though her conviction was a decade ago by this point, it was in the back of her mind that she’d struggle to find the next opportunity.

“I enjoyed advocating for women, but some days it was triggering because of my personal experiences. But I was employed. I thought: this is going to be my life, I’ll get on with it. I never thought I would be able to move on because of my conviction.”

I thought: this is going to be my life, I’ll get on with it. I never thought I would be able to move on because of my conviction.


Someone to stand beside you

The confidence to go and get that next job was where Nicola struggled. She found Working Chance, and from that point, things started to fall into place.

“I attended workshops and completed the employability programme, and it changed things so massively for the better. I was doing workshops alongside women who’d been through the justice system. Everyone at Working Chance was so kind and understanding of how difficult it was for me.”

With Working Chance by her side, she started to feel more confident about the future. We supported Nicola to prepare a strong disclosure, giving context to the offence that would appear on her DBS check. This gave her the confidence she needed to walk into a job interview with her head held high.

“I felt like Working Chance really cared and wanted to help. How lucky are we to have our own personal Employment Advisor to guide us along the way!”

Once Nicola started to attend interviews and receive job offers, she began to see herself in a different light. Employers saw past Nicola’s conviction and saw how employable she was.

And then finally, Nicola found the job that was perfect for her. She’s now thriving in her new role as a caseworker at a children's service, supporting children with special educational needs and their families. She credits Working Chance for standing alongside her and helping her on the way.

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Celebrate International Women's Day

Could you provide a confidence boost for a woman like Nicola? Your support will help women to build meaningful careers and a brighter future for themselves and their families.

  • £10 could enable Nicola's keyworker to regularly check in with her and her employer, to make sure she continues to thrive in her role.
  • £15 could help more women like Nicola to prepare a strong disclosure for potential employers, enabling them to walk into job interviews with confidence.
  • £30 could mean more women get to attend our career coaching workshops, gaining crucial peer support from other women like Nicola who have been through the justice system.