Christine John - our Interim Customer Services Manager (Projects) - explains how Gateway is helping develop young people and get them work ready in our local area.
I am passionate about opportunities for young people (and for those of us that are a little bit older…) but they have become more and more difficult to find in recent years.
Organisations with the time, passion and commitment to take on 18-24 year olds and see talent that can be developed for the future are becoming rare. But we are still out there!
In September 2018, we recruited young people from our STEP (Support to Employment Programme) to come on board and join us in Customer Services as mini apprentices, to cleanse our database and carry out data entry.
I just wanted to tell you a little more about where these young people are now and the difference we have made in their lives.
Joseph Atuahene joined us as part of this team and told me that not having permanent employment after completing his university degree had seriously impacted his confidence and self-belief.
We initially took Joseph on for a month and he made such a difference to the team we asked him to stay on longer! This is what Joseph had to say about his experience at Gateway:
“It has made a massive difference to my life. It has given me a purpose and I have learnt such a lot of things that I will be able to take with me, in Gateway or elsewhere. My confidence has grown just being able to have conversations with people that I didn’t previously know. Talking to Gateway customers has given me a real insight into what the organisation does and I have learnt a lot about myself. I can now deal with lots of different situations in a confident and professional way and not retreat back to my shy self. I’m more confident and more outgoing, happy to interact with people and believe in myself to do things.”
There has been nothing but positive feedback about Joseph - his gentleness, positivity, willingness to learn and help has seen him not only engage with the data project, but be asked to assist IT, support Customer Services with system administration and be the first point of contact to meet and greet our customers in reception.
He has supported resident involvement and our Black History Month events. Joseph soaks up new things like a sponge and is a pleasure to be around.
Thank you to Joseph.
Sabiha Chowdhury’s previous position wasn’t developing her and the environment for learning and progression wasn’t great. This is Sabiha`s view of Gateway:
“The team was very welcoming and friendly and it is a good environment to be in. In the first few weeks I learnt so much shadowing the team and getting stuck into the project, we got to do different things in the team and for the wider business which was great. I feel that I have progressed since we joined and learnt skills that we use here and that will help in the future. I am a lot more confident and comfortable to talking to people. I have better coping mechanisms now to deal with difficult situations that help at work and in my personal life. I have been given the opportunity to stay on which is really exciting for me and I am looking forward to my future at Gateway”.
Sabiha has been a valued member of the team. She is positive and makes people smile. What we note about Sabiha is her willingness to just get stuck in and help. What she most often asks is “Is there anything else you need me to do?”
Sabiha, no there isn’t. just keep up the good work!
Blog by Christine John - Interim Customer Services Manager (Projects)