New Start for Cheryl

Milford Haven resident Cheryl Harrison, aged 33, was enjoying her job as a support worker for a Pembrokeshire based social enterprise when she was diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder. Cheryl’s life changed dramatically and she was unable to continue in the job she enjoyed.  Cheryl has diabetes, post-traumatic stress syndrome, arthritis, low immunity, dyslexia and has restricted mobility. Cheryl needs a wheelchair and a support worker to help with her day to day life. Despite all these challenges, Cheryl remains positive and determined to work again.

Careers Wales suggested that Cheryl should speak to the Pembrokeshire Workways+ team. Workways+ helps people get jobs, funded training, paid work experience and volunteering opportunities. Workways+ assigned Cheryl a mentor, Nirvana Thomas, to work with her on a 1-1 basis. Nirvana and Cheryl set to work firstly identifying what type of job would be of interest and suit Cheryl’s needs. A nail technician role was identified and Cheryl thought this could be an exciting opportunity for her. Nirvana found a 20 week ‘Nail Technician’ course at Pembrokeshire College and Workways+ provided all the funding to pay for it.

Attending college would be a challenge for Cheryl and she began to feel anxious and a little hesitant. To help Cheryl overcome her anxiety Nirvana accompanied her on the first few days of the course, providing some ‘hand holding’ support and helping with the paperwork required by the college administrators. Cheryl settled in and is now enjoying the course and making new friends. Her ambition is to complete the course, then study reflexology with the eventual goal of self-employment.

Cheryl said, “My life has changed but I really want to get the most out of it. I wasn’t sure what the future held until I met with Workways+. My mentor Nirvana has been wonderful with great understanding and empathy. Workways+ literally could not do enough for me. From funding my training to being there with words of encouragement, they have been great”.

Workways+ is part funded by the European Social Fund through the Welsh Government.

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