Nadia Silva, Project Advisor for BCHA's The Way Forward programme explains how she became involved with the project and how it has shaped her, as well as many others peoples’ lives.
“I first heard of BCHA’s The Way Forward project when I had been furloughed myself for several months and was eventually made redundant from a recruitment job that I loved.
"Coping with redundancy during a devastating pandemic and at such an uncertain time in the job market was extremely tough. And seeing how Covid was significantly affecting people’s mental health, especially those who were feeling anxious and worried and had been impacted financially, made me determined to find a way to make a difference in the community.
"With almost ten years of recruitment experience and a passion for empowering others to make positive choices in their lives, The Way Forward was the perfect opportunity for me to put my skills and experience to good use.
"I am now responsible for providing an employability and skills coaching programme to individuals who have been affected by COVID-19 and have found themselves in financial difficulty or unemployed and working less hours.
"I coach people to increase their employability skills and give them all the tools and resources they need to enter the workplace.
"I also put them in touch with other services that can offer financial support, advice and guidance.
"It’s been extremely rewarding helping people who have had their self-esteem and confidence knocked ‘come back’.
"A large part of our success is due to the support we give through one-to-one coaching sessions and on a personal basis - this undoubtedly gives me the most satisfaction.
"It’s thrilling to see people reach their goals, through receiving my CV advice, job application support, employability skills, budgeting tips and personal development coaching
"One of the many highlights was when a single dad of two told me that having secured employment with my support he was now able to offer his kids a better life and treat them to birthday presents.
"I’m so proud to be part of such a valuable project in the community. It’s a privilege to help rebuild people’s confidence and offer them the career advice and guidance they need to secure employment and reach financial stability.
"There has been much to learn and there will be more to learn in the future, but I think it is most important that we understand each customer’s past experiences case by case and do what we can to support them, even if the result isn’t always positive. As in some way or another they will all have developed some knowledge and skill.
"It is my privilege to continue to help drive the success of The Way Forward project and in doing so develop bespoke pathways, which lead individuals to financial health, employment and improved wellbeing.”