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BBO Bridges Case Study: Making Progress Step by Step

Janine* joined the BBO Bridges over a year ago and we have been working together as she has experienced multiple barriers to her integration in the UK and finding suitable employment. She has been referred to us at a time when she became a single parent and started suffering from low-self esteem, and isolation. 

Janine is originally from the Philippines, having lived in the UK for around 4 years prior to signing on the project. One of our first goals was to look at offering information, advice, and guidance surrounding them renewing their Biometric Residence Permit and Visa. We linked her up with our partners at the Refugee and Migrant Centre and she was assigned a Case Worker (Reece) who worked tirelessly to assist her with the application. Following their Biometrics meeting in Solihull, they were successful and offered a Visa and Biometric Residence Permit for another 2 and a half years. This gives Janine the right to live and remain, claim benefits, work in the UK, and apply for a care support service.

Meanwhile, we had to make sure that Janine had a chance of gaining employment as being a single parent she could not possibly survive on benefits alone. The task was rather challenging as she hasn’t been working for more than 15 years as she previously has been staying at home and taking care of her child and family. We did personality quizzes, skills assessments, and CV-building activities to create her first-ever CV and identify suitable opportunities for her.

Moreover, during one of our appointments, it became clear that Janine wasn’t claiming housing benefits, which she was entitled to, so we helped process that application, assisting the participant to become £300+ better off per month than they were prior to joining the project.

Similarly to that, during another meeting, she mentioned that she struggled with her eyesight and couldn’t afford glasses. Following this, I explained there are some benefits for unemployed people such as free eye tests and vouchers that help towards paying for glasses. We’d booked them into an optician’s appointment later that day and the following week she had brand new glasses! 

As Janine has been very enthusiastic to improve her English, we have worked together during the lockdown and she showed great improvement in September she completed Entry Level 3 English Qualifications. Moreover, Janine joined the local library, video call training, Universal Credit Portal IAG, and how to liaise with job coaches in a competent and productive manner. The latter has led to where we are now! She has just completed 2 qualifications with Skills Shop, Merry Hill (Dudley College): Skills for Working in the Retail Industry – Entry Level 1 and Customer Service – Entry Level.

We are absolutely sure that Janine will find suitable employment soon considering her immense progress, resilience, and determination to progress further in everything she does!

Bridges is funded by the European Social Fund and the National Lottery Community Fund. For more information about the project, please visit stepstowork.co.uk/bridges or contact us on 01922 627555.

*Due to confidentiality, the name of the participant has been changed.