The ability to come alongside each person, and provide a level of support tailored to the needs of that individual is what marks Unlock Your Potential programme out from other organisations offering employment services, and it’s exactly what made a difference for Sarah Jude, 19.

With high levels of anxiety as well as an autism spectrum condition diagnosis Sarah felt unable even to come into the room at the Unlock Your Potential session in Durham.

Sitting on the floor beside her, job coach Michael Knaggs was able to help reduce her anxiety and by the end of the session she wasn’t just in the room she was actively participating.

Although she needed to take frequent breaks in order to compose herself these decreased in frequency and length as the workshops progressed.

The Employment Futures team offered Sarah additional support around managing her anxiety and to develop her own confidence.

Michael said: 

By the end of the eight-week workshop programme Sarah was engaging in what was going on she had became a popular and active part of the group.

She improved her CV, showed a better understanding of her own abilities and expectations, and her confidence hugely improved.

Through the Unlock Your Potential programme Sarah began a work placement at Garden House Inn in Durham.

She was very nervous about starting, but with support and guidance she was reassured and quickly demonstrated her own independence.

Sarah has now completed her work placement and has been told by the owner that there is a realistic prospect of a job in the future, which she is thrilled about.

Michael continues to support Sarah by helping her to apply for other jobs which up until recently she would not have had the confidence to do.