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“It’s allowed me to start building a new life”

Karen Howard can’t speak highly enough of the role Think Employment played in helping her gain employment with McDonald’s and start to build a new life for herself.

Earlier this year Karen was receiving help from a Mind support group when she first heard about the pre-employment courses on offer at Think Employment. At that time, she was struggling with some mental health issues and her condition had left her very withdrawn – almost to the level of being completely housebound. Karen did have experience working in an office, but she found sitting in an office all day quite suffocating and it would only worsen her condition. She did, however, have an interest in doing a job that would allow her to be active and meet new people, so she expressed an interest in doing one of Think Employment’s hospitality courses. The support group put Karen in touch with Sabrina at Think Employment and she signed up for the course. Then, after completing the Hospitality training with flying colours, Karen also did a Customer Service course to further equip her with transferable skills that would aid her chances of finding work.

“I really enjoyed the courses I did because they helped me begin to regain my confidence,” Karen told us.

“I had developed bad social anxiety but coming to Think Employment helped me to get out of the house, get socialising and build up my confidence, which helped me get back into work!”

Due to the skills she’d obtained and her improved confidence levels, Karen was selected for a work trial with McDonald’s after attending a ‘Meet The Employer’ session organised by Think Employment. After just four hours on the shop floor, she was put forward for an interview and was offered a permanent position. One month into her new role and Karen is lovin’ it at McDonald’s!

“McDonald’s have been really good and allowed me to slowly build up the jobs I do. Generally, I’m a ‘DA’ (Domestic Assistant) but I’ve also helped out in the kitchen and I’ve started using the till as well. I’m using all sorts of skills I never imagined I would have!” Karen explained.

“In fact, I’ve probably used all of the skills I learned during the courses I did with Think Employment. You don’t think about it at the time, but when you’re in the moment, you do call upon all the things you learned because they taught me a lot about the new working environment I was entering. So in terms of that, they have really helped me.”

There’s no doubt that Karen has come a long way since the support group first referred her to Think Employment. She’s managed to break the negative thoughts that largely left her confined to her home, get herself into a positive out-going daily routine, meet new people, gain new transferable skills, find work with an excellent employer in McDonald’s and start to build a new, exciting life for herself.

Reflecting on her time with Think Employment and the impact of the learning and support she received, Karen had this to say.

“Coming to Think Employment helped me get my confidence back. Sabrina and the Tutors were really great at making me feel comfortable all of the time and that allowed me to come out of my shell.”

“It’s also had a positive impact on my mental health. Everything I’ve done has been stepping stones on my road to recovery and, to be honest, I don’t think I would have progressed this far without Think Employment.

“I can’t speak highly enough of them because it’s allowed me to start building a new life for me and my little girl.”

If you’d like to follow in Karen’s footsteps and find work with a local employer like McDonald’s, call 0113 880 0626 to find out how Think Employment can help you.



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