Before joining the Bridges programme, I was extremely confused, asking myself what am I doing in this country. I am originally from Romania where I worked as a paediatric surgeon. I had lived in England for 6 months and had been unsuccessful in finding employment which affected my confidence quite badly. I didn’t know where to start, where to finish and even where to look for help. I tried to apply for jobs, over 400, but none of the companies offered me a chance for interview. This included jobs like cleaning, factory work or care work. They gave me no opportunity to prove myself.
One day on my way to a job agency, I walked past the PTP office on Waterloo Road and I saw a sign offering advice. I was unsure of what was available but I went in and spoke to the receptionist. She made a phone call and that is when I met Firoza. Firoza gave me a detailed explanation of the programme including the duration, what documents I would need to start and what her expectations would be of me.
I must say that the programme changed my life. The sessions allowed me to meet other people and speak to them in English. Before this, I had no contact with English speaking people and felt that as a Romanian, people did not want to speak to me. The ladies on the programme accepted me for who I was and we shared our experiences and motivated each other to continue and better ourselves. I have made friends here. I now realise that I am somebody who can appreciate themselves and has more confidence in themselves and their abilities.
To prepare to gain work we learnt about CVs, covering letters and how to complete application forms. I could produce a British CV which allowed me to apply for jobs and I was able to secure interviews at hospitals in Stafford and Walsall. Even though I was unsuccessful, I was more motivated to carry on. I now know how to dress for interview and what interview questions I may face. I was not aware of the English way to do this and recently I was able to use these new skills successfully in my actual interviews.
I am now finally working for a local Care company as an Administration and Compliance Assistant. I am also in training for weekend work at Mann and Hummell which is very hard work.
The Bridges programme has made me believe again in my background and skills and I now have more respect for my life and background. I have been able to set short and medium-term goals which include studying an English course that I attend 2 days a week at Wolverhampton Adult Education. This will help be more stable and confident in my English.
Even though I am now working, I am still part of the programme and can call Firoza or Troy for help and guidance and they will always be there for me.
Firoza is the closest person to me in this country. She was very professional in our sessions and kept us on track even when we would try to go off subject. She is caring and can easily engage with everyone as individuals. She treats us with respect.
Troy is amazing when he joined us at the end of the programme. He is very knowledgeable about the subjects we were covering such as mock interviews. He integrated into the group easily and took time to get to know us.
I have recommended the Bridges programme to other people as I feel that they will benefit greatly from the support that is offered.