When Noreen moved to the UK from Pakistan to join her husband she realised she would not be able to continue her previous career as a primary school teacher as her qualifications were not recognised and the curriculum was different here in the UK. Not being confident in speaking English left Noreen feeling shy and isolated – she was afraid people may laugh at her when she spoke. She knew her confidence would be improved by learning to be more fluent in English, and that it would also improve her employment prospects. When she found out about ESOL classes at her local library in Kirklees she couldn’t wait to sign up.
Through the ESOL classes, Noreen joined a programme delivered by Halifax Opportunities Trust called Connecting Opportunities. The programme is funded by the National Lottery Community Fund and European Social Fund with Migration Yorkshire as the lead organisation and aims to work with new migrants to develop their skills and opportunities to find work and be part of the local community, in West Yorkshire and parts of North Yorkshire. On joining the programme she was paired with her Key Worker, Jana, who sign-posted her to The Hillhouse Centre in Huddersfield where she is working towards accredited courses and building her confidence.
Noreen has successfully completed courses in Food Hygiene and Customer Care and a Level 1 CACHE accredited course in Working with Children, she is now working towards her level 2. Attending the courses at the Hillhouse Centre also gave Noreen the opportunity to volunteer as a receptionist for the Centre giving her valuable work experience. She was delighted to feel part of a diverse community and took part in events such as Refugee Week celebrations and International Women’s Day.
With her new found confidence growing Noreen decided to apply for a Lunchtime Supervisor role at a local school. Jana, helped her to apply and coached her through interview techniques, “Jana is always there to support me,” says Noreen, “Whenever I text her she comes and meets me.” Whilst Noreen was unsuccessful with her application for the job she remains undeterred. “It was a good experience to go for an interview and I feel more confident now – I’m on the right path. It’s important to be surrounded by positive people. I hope I will get a good job and do well in life.”
Noreen has a saying: “If you can, you will.”
We think that’s a pretty good saying!
Name and image changed to protect individual’s identity.