Donna is a person who is honest about her life. Having struggled with a drug addiction for many years and other on-going health issues, finding work was difficult, and, if the truth be known, probably not top of her priority list.
It was with these issues along with a negative attitude that Donna was first referred to Trac in 2012. Unsurprisingly, things didn’t go too well.
In 2013, things had changed. Having managed to stop the substance misuse and then being appointed a personal advisor within Trac, Donna’s attitude changed.
“Initially when I was referred to Trac I was not in a good place” she said. “but my life began to change for the better once I’d stopped taking the drugs and then starting to work with Laura my personal advisor. She showed faith in my recovery and gave me the confidence to go out there and to take responsibility for my life”.
Her determination to improve her employability skills resulted in numerous achievements, beginning with Learn Direct courses to improve her interview skills and building upon her CV
Laura however had recommended that an important first step would be to find voluntary work. With her new found confidence, Donna secured a short period of voluntary work that proved the key to her future – assisting support workers with Cyswllt in Llanelli. Cyswllt are a Day Service, providing help, advice and support for people with drug and alcohol problems, and for their families. Perfect for Donna.
“I felt that my personal experience and knowledge of what people were going though and how hard it was for them could be put to good use for once” said Donna. Turning a negative into a positive was so inspiring” she added.
Within a short space of time, Donna gained OCN qualifications in Substance Misuse and Peer Mentoring and three accredited courses in Anger Management, Introduction to Domestic Abuse and Assertiveness.
When the placement came to an end a job opportunity presented itself with Turning Point, a social enterprise providing specialist and integrated services which focus on improving lives and communities across mental health, learning disability and substance misuse Donna was put through her paces by Laura and Nick Pearce, Employment Engagement Officer at Trac. After several meetings she underwent a mock interview in preparation for the real thing. Despite not being offered the job, she impressed the interview panel so much that they did offer her a voluntary role within the organisation as a Volunteer Recovery Drug Worker.
Although Donna’s own commitment, desire and hard work have been instrumental to her success in making a better life for herself she herself sees the role played by, Laura – her personal advisor – as being all-important.
“Laura turned my life around. Not only did she give me the confidence and practical tools to apply for jobs, but she gave me self-esteem which in turn made me realise what I could achieve”.