“Whilst I was at school, I worked as a Saturday girl at a hair salon. After I left school, I studied hairdressing and barbering and in 2011 I qualified as a hairdresser (NVQ level 3) and barber (NVQ level2). I have over ten years of experience in the industry.
On qualifying, I realised that I wanted to make more of a difference to people’s lives, so I went to Dearne Valley College and did an Access to Nursing Diploma at night school for two years, alongside working at the hair salon and doing voluntary work on my days off. This allowed me to get enough UCAS points to go to university.
I went on to university and studied to become a Social Worker. University wasn’t easy, as I have dyslexia and dyscalculia. None the less, I powered through and with support in 2017, I left the University of a Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work with upper-class honours and a diploma in International Social Work, as I put myself forward to study in Germany and Sweden in addition to my degree.
I then moved to Bristol and found a job as a Drugs Counsellor in North Somerset. I have been there for almost three years.
Drugs use is common down south and therefore my role is very busy. I work in a Youth Offending Team providing support to young people aged 10-18 years to keep safe, reduce and stop their drug use, offending behaviours and help support them with mental health difficulties. I help a lot of young people suffering from anxiety, anger issues and suicidal feelings. My role is to help them to visualise their goals and positives in their lives and to help them keep safe.
In my role, I’m an educator, a professional friend and role model. I manage a lot of difficult issues and this I believe, has strengthened my character.
Alongside my role, I have volunteered at festivals working on the welfare teams and I’ve recently signed up to volunteer for the NHS to help out due to COVID-19, in addition to my role as a Drugs worker.
I can remember at school, my Health and Social Care teacher Mrs Ward empowering me to reconsider my career in hairdressing, as she saw potential in me, in the health and social sector. It took a few years, but I found my way back to it and I’ll never look back. The conversation with that teacher will always remain with me.”