“Being an apprentice has given me a new lease of life, I haven’t looked back” – that’s the message from 46-year-old Mah-jabeen, who joined Ealing Council’s apprenticeship scheme last year.
The Southall mother-of-four was not able to work for 20 years because of a serious health condition, which she described as a particularly low point in her life.
“My health rapidly deteriorated in my 20s and I had to leave work as a team leader at a retail business,” she said.
“I became so poorly that I was advised by my doctor to not leave the house. I’ve always been an independent person but to be told I could no longer ride a bike, go for a swim or be on my own outside, hit me hard.
“My confidence hit rock bottom and I was too scared to go out. My confidence ebbed away.”
Eventually, Mah-jabeen’s condition improved, but she still had to face another hurdle – having the confidence to apply for work and attending job interviews, something she hadn’t done in more than two decades.
“It’s always nerve wracking to face an interview, but I found life and work had moved on since my last employment,” she says.
“Then I saw the apprenticeship programme with Ealing Council. After overcoming a number of unexpected barriers, I was able to secure an apprenticeship with LetsGoSouthall and started in July 2020.
“Since then, I haven’t looked back. After completing level 2, I’ve started my level 3 apprenticeship in July this year.
“I love my job and I love the interaction I have with tenants and the team I work with. The apprenticeship has helped me to improve my computer skills and enhance my self-confidence. I’d never worked in an office role before but the added skills I’ve gained as a result of my apprenticeship programme have even helped me to support my husband in setting up his business.
“I’d recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, the council’s cabinet member for decent living incomes, said: “It’s great that Mah-jabeen has grasped and seized the opportunity to get into the workplace through an apprenticeship.
“Apprenticeships are a great way to earn a wage whilst gaining a nationally-recognised qualification and form part of our firm commitment to create Good Jobs for residents in Ealing.
“Mah-jabeen is proof that apprenticeships are not just for school leavers but available for anyone who is over 16, living in England and not in full-time education.”
To find out more visit the Apprenticeship Zone at Ealing Work West.