October 07, 2020

Natalia's Story

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I’ve just been offered a job, and I’m so pleased.

I used to work in a nursery. I wanted to do my PGCE and become a higher education teacher, or do Level 3 for primary teaching. Then last year I got into a heated argument with my partner, I attacked her. I woke up in a police station. When they told me I was going to be charged I panicked, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to continue with my career.

I’ve always been resourceful. I went to university and graduated, despite having setbacks along the way. I didn’t want to come so far in life and just give up – I knew I had to do something.

I was put on probation and given community service. I told my probation officer that I needed help finding a new job and she put me through to Working Chance. I made it clear that I didn’t just want a job, I wanted a career that I could progress in. Something that would challenge me and where I would feel like I’m making a difference.

Working Chance found me a position as a key worker, working with vulnerable adults. It’s not something I’d considered before but I realised that helping people with their day to day lives would never be boring, and would be different every day. And I’d still be looking after people.

I had my interview, disclosed my conviction, and they actually really liked me and offered me a job.

The most difficult thing about having a criminal record is the embarrassment and rejection. It’s really draining. My advice to other women in my position would be to get help. Just because you have a criminal record doesn’t make you a bad person. People make mistakes. You can change things. Accept what you did wrong and try to help yourself and let people help you.

I’m still with my partner. We talked about it, she forgave me, and we’ve moved on. We’re all human.