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Transforming Lives: Read about Riya's journey with Business 2 Business

Riya came to the UK from India in 2018 after getting married to her husband who lived in Leicester. She lived with her husband and in-laws within a large family unit but a small apartment which impacted negatively in terms of privacy and personal care. She had to adjust not only to living in a different country but also with people she barely knew, at times she would feel isolated and lonely. She had new responsibilities as a newly-wed and as a daughter-in-law which impacted on her self-confidence with no personal friends or family to support her.

She had good English written skills but wasn’t very confident in speaking in English and consequently had problems communicating and required ESOL coaching. Her husband applied for 100’s of jobs for her without her being involved in the job search process. She eventually started working at a warehouse in Magna Park, through Industria, this however was not her job preference. Riya only managed to work for 1 week as she then left for personal reasons.

Riya went into depression and this was further compounded by financial issues since she had to leave her job and had no income, she felt claustrophobic with her domestic living circumstances and increasingly isolated. She heard of Business 2 Business through her neighbour, who had previously used our services and she specifically wanted to see Ravi due to this recommendation. Business 2 Business have multi-lingual Advisors who have lived-experience and are representative of the communities they support, this was ideal for Riya who needed help and advice from people she could trust.

Riya was experiencing severe depression impacting on her ability to engage with people and new circumstances and she subsequently missed her first appointment as she was too anxious to attend. Ravi spent time over the phone convincing her in Gujarat that she needed to attend as this was an important first step to making progress, and with much deliberation from Riya he booked her another appointment, which she attended.

Ravi was aware that Riya was afraid of traveling alone, entering unfamiliar buildings and meeting new people and people in positions of authority. Riya’s husband dropped her off near our office and Ravi met her outside the building and walked with her into the office. He could see that she was extremely nervous, and he immediately tried to put her at ease though his jovial and reassuring nature.

Ravi completed the registration paperwork with her, and through the Action Plan, he realised that she had multiple barriers that prevented her from obtaining and sustaining employment that matched her personal skills. In India she had worked as an HR consultant, but in the UK she lacked the confidence to work within an administration role. She also didn’t understand the application process, the use of CV’s and cover letters, references and methods of job search. Throughout the appointment Riya only spoke to Ravi in Gujarati as this is her first language as she did not feel comfortable speaking in English.

Ravi booked her in for weekly appointments, and during these sessions, he completed a Health and Wellbeing Routeway which consisted of Positive Mindset, Healthy Change, Confidence and Self-Esteem and Managing Health and Work. He only spoke to her in English throughout this time so that her spoken English would improve and her confidence would increase. Through Ravi’s reflection on Riya’s case, he was able to identify that the Mental Health training our Advisors completed assisted Ravi to support Mini appropriately. Riya’s confidence and self-esteem had gradually improved which greatly assisted her communication with other people.

Once these barriers were addressed, she was referred to see Julie, our in-house Tutor to help her obtain the necessary Employability Skills within a group setting. Julie’s first session was confidence building, she did this so that an individual’s participation would increase, and they would develop team working and communication skills. Julie also helped Riya with speech structure, Julie trained Riya how to use her English language skills to communicate effectively. At this point Riya felt empowered and able to ask Julie for support with interview skills as she was now actively job searching.

Riya was still not confident travelling alone and her husband continued to drop her off for all of her appointments and pick her up. Upon discussing this with Ravi, Julie put together a series of short trips that would enable Riya and the rest of her Employability group understand the areas of the city and the methods of travel, thus empowering the group even further. The first trip was a walk to the local library with a member of the group and Julie met them there, once they arrived Julie explained all the different resource’s their local library could provide. The next trip was taking a bus to the New Walk Museum. Julie met the group outside the office and the team had to make their way to the museum, Julie taught them how to read Bus Timetables, Maps that were dotted around the city and she taught them the different method they can pay with. Riya was very nervous about getting on the bus because in India she only travelled by rickshaw or scooter, her perception of buses was very negative. Julie and the groups support helped calm her nerves and she happily got on. Other visits included trips to the Supermarket, local Medical Centre local Leisure Centre and for these, the group had to make their own way there using the skills they learnt. The Group found the trips so useful that they were incorporated with the Employability Training for future groups. All expenses of these trips were paid by Business 2 Business. Riya was now confident in coming alone to her appointments and she no longer had to rely on her husband.

During the time Riya was on the Employability Skills course, Ravi discussed with her an opportunity that would be perfect to help use and to develop her current skills and obtain experience within an administration role. The opportunity for Riya entering a role better aligned with her experience in India combined with her new skills set supported significant improvement in her general mental health and personal circumstances.

Business 2 Business support and long established partnership arrangements provided intervention where she would receive 4 weeks training leading to interviews and potential job opportunity, working within an NHS GP surgery in the heart of the community. This role, if she was to be successful would allow her and her husband to have a stable income, save money to buy/rent their own place and establish an independent lifestyle. It would also enable her to use the skills she already had from India and to use her multi-lingual skills to support individuals in the community.

On completion of her training, Riya was selected and invited for an interview at a GP surgery in the city. Riya was successful at the interview and has now started a full-time job as a Receptionist within the GP practice. Within 2 years and with the help and support provided by Business 2 Business Riya completely turned her life around.

When she first came to see us, she did not dare to dream of a job working within administration let alone the NHS. She felt that if it wasn’t for Business 2 Business, she would have been stuck in a dead end job with no personal progression, no stability and no job fulfilment. Her personal and domestic circumstances would further isolate Riya establishing long term potential for poor mental health and continued social and economic exclusion.

Couple of months after Riya started her job, she came back into the office with a ‘Thank You’ cake for the Team. She was so grateful for the help and support she received, she was so overcome with emotion she ended up in tears, it was very emotional.

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