Posted 16.12.2021

Sarah*, who has been supported by Job Match Supported Employment Officer (SEO) Heather Logan, shares her personal journey from unemployment to successfully running her own business.

Sarah was referred to Job Match from the Condition Management Programme (CMP) in the Mid-Ulster area after being out of work for some time.

I was anxious about the thought of going back to work and had lost all confidence in my ability to do so. After joining Job Match, I was matched with my SEO Heather who was incredibly supportive throughout the entire process.

Through the programme Sarah was able to explore different options for employment and what types of work would suit her best.

Heather was able to help me prepare for interviews and to contact potential employers on my behalf making sure they were aware of my health status and ensure they could make any adjustments if necessary. This increased my confidence hugely as I was anxious on how to inform employers of my health condition and how to ask for help if I needed it.

After undertaking different types of employment, Sarah became more comfortable in trying different jobs, meeting and working with others and her confidence continued to grow which helped her to realize that she could successfully return to work.

As I was interested in becoming self-employed and starting my own business, I was able to receive guidance on how to do this from the Job Match programme. Heather was amazing in helping me throughout this process as self-employment was entirely new to me and I was unsure if I could do this and how it would affect my health.

Sarah was signposted to the ‘Go For It’ programme which helped her to organize her ideas, create a business plan as well as helping with practical elements such as bookkeeping and how to market her business.

Heather helped ensure that going self-employed was as enjoyable and straightforward as possible. She helped me in all areas of the process including communicating on my behalf and helping with paperwork requirements for financial aid, which I had always found particularly stressful. Most importantly for me, throughout all stages Heather continued to provide encouragement and helped ensure that my health and well-being was being maintained and I was looking after myself through the process of going back to work.

In 2019 Sarah started her own business as a Massage Therapist through the help of Job Match which has continued to grow her business since. 

Sarah continued to be supported by Heather throughout COVID-19 when she had to take time off work. She was able to use this time productively to improve her skills and prepare for returning to work after the pandemic.

I can truly say that Job Match has helped me turn my life around and that the support Heather has provided has been invaluable. It is an amazing service which has enabled me to rebuild my confidence and find a job I love.  I look forward to continuing to grow and reaching more of my goals in the future.

Heather continues to provide pastoral support to Sarah. If you need support to find work or move into self-employment contact a member of our Job Match team in your local area.

Read more about Job Match and contact a member of our team

*Name changed