Success Story: Progressing with a love of textiles

11th June 2020

Read how one participant worked with Ambitions and The Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) to take the first steps in chasing her passion.

A difficult homelife and transient housing meant this young person kept disengaging with Job Centre Plus. She had childcare qualifications but did not want to pursue this avenue of employment and was demonstrably creative, especially with textiles. This participants homelife, and especially needing to support her sister, played a huge part in her wellbeing, creating confusion about how to move forward.

We encouraged this participant to engage with us in the first instance via the textiles upcycling project, as it provided a calm and creative space in which she could explore her existing interest in clothes and making things. Everyone in this session could either take on a prescribed task such as making a tote bag or use the donated resources to create their own idea. Our participant really showed her creative flair, choosing to make a weighted quilt from a combination of fabrics. She did this by sandwiching heavier fabric in between more elegant printed fabrics with detailed quilting stitches to hold it all together. She carried out this project with determination and fantastic eye for detail. She had created something beautiful but also given herself a real boost in the process. Feeling proud of her success she agreed to sign up for a Level 1 Sewing and Pattern Making course. Her ingenuity did not stop there though! She carried on making new creations whilst on the project with us, designing sport bags and more.

Our participant and her sister used the Real Ideas office as a base with which to get advice and guidance for everyday tasks, as a calm and accepting environment they could stay and be creative, whilst making good use of the internet here.

As well as all the standard support for job searching, CV writing and employability skills, this participant avidly took part in the additional project activities such as life drawing and boxing, the latter she become a big fan of as a way to expel frustration and promote positive feeling.

As well as being creative, this participant had a strong desire to work outside in a marine environment. After a series of interview techniques workshops and confidence boosting exercises, she successfully gained employment at Paignton Zoo. However, this was just before the COVID-19 pandemic and they cancelled her employment as soon lockdown started. As a result, she remained on our programme and kept engagement via online fitness classes, Opportunity Hacks and 1:1 coaching.

She has struggled to keep momentum during isolation, influenced by being drawn into family responsibilities, however she is applying for jobs and sticking with her plan to eventually move to Paignton. Throughout lockdown she has continued to create and make clothes for herself and her sister and will resume her L1 textiles course in September.

Our young person has been a success due to the demonstrable development of her resilience, positivity and determination. She has proven that despite anxiety and personal struggles, she can plan and execute positive change in her life. Most importantly, she understands that this is now within her control and that she has the aptitude to apply herself to a wide variety of learning and employment scenarios. 

We wish our young person every luck with her future.