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Case study | 19 July 2022

Stella's story

TRIGGER WARNING: this article deals with themes of alcohol dependency and mental health.

Before I found you, I felt unconfident and afraid of applying for jobs. It felt like my past mistakes would never be allowed to be in the past when it came to my career.

Former Working Chance Client

When she came to Working Chance ready to make a change in August of 2021, Stella* hadn’t worked in almost 20 years. She had struggled with alcohol dependency and poor mental health for much of her life, had two criminal convictions, and her self-confidence was low.

Despite taking control of her alcohol dependency and being diagnosed with bipolar, now in her forties, mum of two Stella still saw herself as a ‘criminal’ and was worried about how she would be perceived by potential employers when she disclosed her convictions.

By August 2021, Stella had been sober for around 18 months and was ready to take the next step towards transforming her future, but couldn’t see how.

"I would have lived in fear that my DBS** would always come back with my past. I didn’t know my own rights to protection."

With the support of a Working Chance employability advisor, she completed training on preparing a CV, interview skills and how to disclose her convictions. She began to see herself in a different light and recognise that she had something to offer.

The support showed me that I was not defined by my past, and helped me to see the potential of my future. It gave me the confidence to apply for jobs I never thought I could apply for.

Former Working Chance Client

By October 2021, she was volunteering one day a week in a museum – picking up new skills, growing in confidence, and ready to start looking for meaningful full-time employment.

Just a few months later, in February 2022, Stella accepted a full-time position as a tour guide at a popular tourist attraction. Her life is on a very different path.

"Working has made such a difference in my life, to be earning my own money, having responsibility outside of my children, it's just helped me feel like me again."


* Not her real name.

** The DBS, or Disclosure and Barring Service, is the criminal record checking service.