Mandy

Mandy came to Hope in February 2020 to achieve Level 2 English and Maths and find work in Health and Social Care and Data Entry. She is part of a blended family which speaks several languages and found that helping children with homework and general language questions were proving challenging. Mandy wanted to support them the best she could. She didn’t want to go to a College and was looking for somewhere smaller.

Mandy says that on her first day, “I remember being part of a diverse group of people – this excited me to see that everyone was different”. She and Kim looked not only at learning but got to work on Mandy’s CV. “[It] was a bonus to be introduced to start looking at a career… The I Could Buzz Quiz – gave me some surprise strengths and interests and I started looking at entry requirements for careers as opposed to admin jobs.”

Mandy achieved Functional Skills Maths and English at Level 2 and says her ICT skills also improved as she completed much of her Maths course remotely during covid. But not only this, she also says her confidence and mind-set has changed, “it made me realise to aim higher and that I could achieve! Family life had always come first – my family are growing up and progressing themselves and I now have the time and also want that. I want to set a motivated example.”

Mandy is now on an Access to Higher Education course and aims to become an Engineer.
“I can’t recommend enough to others to access support and learning with The Hope Foundation – It’s supported me to realise my potential.”

Mark

Mark was working in the construction agency when he first came to The Hope Foundation in 2019. He held a precarious role as a subcontractor and had mostly short-term domestic work which meant he also relied on benefits. Mark wanted to progress within the construction industry. His aim was to become a Health and Safety Inspector in construction which would also mean more regular work and secure employment.

At his first appointment with Kim they researched the job role Mark was looking for, the entry requirements and skills he would need. They then devised a Skills Action Plan planning which skills he would need to work on and which qualifications he would need to gain. Mark would study towards Functional Skills English and ECDL at The Hope Foundation. Though ICT wasn’t a direct requirement for the role, having ICT skills and a qualification would be an advantage for him in securing work and also being able to do this new job effectively.

In order to make the move to work on larger construction and engineering sites, Kim referred Mark to Routes to Work who helped him achieve some of the essential entry requirements: CCNSG (site safety passport) and a CSCS card.

They worked together to create a CV and cover letter so he would be able to approach employers speculatively and Kim introduced Mark to LinkedIn with Advice and Guidance on how to create an effective profile, using his research to ensure this profile matched the entry requirements for the job he was aiming for, CV and cover letter to find work.

For just over a year, Mark attended courses at Hope and received support from Kim, National Careers Services, Routes to Employment and partner organisations. Since August 2020 he has been fully qualified and in full-time, secure employment as a Health and Safety Inspector in logistics.

Neil

Neil* (not his real name)

Neil heard about the Hope Foundation from Saint John of God. He had to move to Middlesbrough during the covid pandemic and found himself isolated in a new place.

He came to The Hope Foundation wanting to gain qualifications, find our about volunteering opportunities and get connected. He says, “The conversation with Kim was so much more. We talked about my long term and future goals in football coaching and Kim gave advice and guidance on the different sectors that this opens for me such as supporting others in difficult situations using sport. We started with Kim completing a CV to apply for voluntary positions and introducing me to MFC Foundation a support organisation for people like myself to make new contacts through sport. We also talked about entry requirements that employers would be looking for as well as experience and I now know the steps and links to be made to achieve this.

Kim referred me to the Hope Digital Library as I had expressed motivation and interest to learn but I only have a mobile phone device. David dropped off a laptop.

The Hope Foundation has made a big difference to my mental health; connecting me to my goals by informing me of the opportunities available in the Middlesbrough area. I moved to the area around September last year and because of lockdown felt excluded being in a new town and not knowing the services available. The Hope Foundation has help me to understand the steps I need to take to get there and feel more positive about my future and how I can progress.”

Neil went on to study for qualifications with Hope and now volunteers in a community football session and is working towards an FA Playmaker Award with MFC Foundation.

Nilam

Nilam was referred to The Hope Foundation in March 2021 by Step Forward Tees Valley. She volunteers for Mind and says, “I needed a device to fill out my call logs and email them to Mind. I also wanted to learn how to access government services, like applying for a passport and railcard.

Getting support from Ageing Better at The Hope Foundation has given me the skills to use a computer to complete forms on Google Docs, attach them and send via email for my volunteering with Mind’s telephone befriending service. It has also given me confidence and courage to do things on my own rather than relying on my children to do it for me.

I learned how to use Google Docs and email as well as how to apply for a passport and railcard. I use it to search the internet to find websites and information, shopping. David has supported me to do this through regular 121s. He has been very patient with me, breaking everything down and writing step-by-step guides I can take home to practice with. This type of service in the community is invaluable and a great asset for people that struggle with IT to have. I would recommend the Hope Foundation to anyone who is struggling and needs that extra support. I’m looking forward to continuing my learning with the courses at the Hope Foundation. My aim is to pass my level one ECDL to give me the qualification and skills to help me on my journey to going to University to study psychology.”

Gordon

My name is Gordon and it’s a very simple story how I came to be learning at Hope. I was working as an agency driver for quite a few years driving HGV’s but after a few years the driving work was starting to become scarce and I was only working 3-4 days a week. One of the firms I was working for over the Christmas period asked me (out of the blue) if I was looking for permanent work. I said ‘yes’, of course, as most of the other regular jobs were drying up so I jumped at the chance to work full-time for a local company.

This is where my connection with the Hope Foundation began. The shift manager at the time said, ‘great! All you have to do is fill in the online application form. Then they will send you a start date by email then you’re off and running. You might as well do it now, use that computer.’

This is where my problems started. I explained to the manager that I hadn’t got a clue about computers, never mind an email address! He thought I was joking. It was very embarrassing. The only job applications I had ever filled out were with a pen and paper! Anyway, he was great about it and did the online application for me. After this I made up my mind that I needed to, at least, learn the basics of computers.

A short while later I was driving into Middlesbrough and I passed the Hope Foundation. Plastered on the side of the building was a massive poster saying ‘Learn IT here’. I thought ‘here is my chance to learn about computers’ and I went and made enquiries. They told me they did a Wednesday night class for beginners and that’s how I started to learn about computers.

Now, I won’t say it’s been easy fitting my learning in around my work patterns but I’ve stuck at it and The Hope Foundation have really gone out of their way to help me learn. The great thing about Hope is that you are not judged on what you can or cannot do. The tutors and volunteers help you to learn in a fun, relaxed and friendly way and after a few weeks you suddenly realise you can use a computer! Not like an expert maybe but enough to know your way around one and the knowledge grows every time you attend class.

I admit it hasn’t been easy but my tutors have been able to help me fit learning in around my work commitments. I have now completed and achieved my L2 ITQ ECDL and am moving on to improving my English and Maths skills. If it hadn’t been for the Hope Foundation I would still be in the dark about computers now.

If you are thinking about learning IT I would definitely recommend the Hope Foundation above any other training provider. Come and give it a try, what have you got to lose? You’ll probably find that you have a great deal to gain. Thank you.