Over the past year Lisa, who is a popular landlady in her village and has been described as ‘a pillar of the community’, has felt extremely lost and has found it difficult to find purpose or motivation to get up in the morning. Every opportunity Lisa thought would be a new start just seemed to lead to more disappointment. A bubbly, motivated and energetic woman was slowly losing her spark and she wasn’t sure where to turn to get the right support.

With the national lockdown impacting not only those losing jobs but also those applying for work, Lisa is just one of many individuals who has felt the negative effects Covid-19 and the jobs crisis.

“Covid affected me in several ways, I had gone for a job interview previously and gotten the job, but this opportunity was then taken away and the store retracted their offer. It was months of waiting around for answers with lots of uncertainty, only to find no job there and things constantly slipping away from me.”

Lisa also did a telephone interview with another company and was successful in moving on to the next stage of the interview process, but unfortunately the same thing happened whereby the company was forced to close the position. For Lisa it felt like every door was then being shut in her face.

“I was devastated each time. I stopped going out, I stopped contacting my friends and just felt totally worthless and like I didn’t have a purpose.”

Lisa found out about School of Hard Knocks’ Back in The Game course through her work coach at the Job Centre. On the first day of the week-long course Lisa was extremely nervous having not interacted with anyone for quite a while. She had been hiding the way she was feeling and for her it was an overwhelming situation to log onto a course with a group of people she didn’t know. As the week progressed however, the School of Hard Knocks team saw Lisa’s bubbly and dynamic character begin reveal itself more and more and picked up on her distinct ability to bring people together.

“From day one to day five of the Back in the Game course, you could see Lisa grow in confidence. We witnessed her start to believe in herself and believe that she could look forward to the future and achieve her goals.”

– Shaunni Davies, SOHK Senior Course Facilitator

Lisa said that a highlight of the course was meeting the other participants. She found it encouraging to be with a group of people who understood and empathised with her situation in regards to not only her state of employment but also her state of mind and mental health.

“Being on the course, I was able to learn where I was in life with panic attacks and anxiety. It was so empowering and inspiring to hear about the other Back in the Game participants’ and course facilitators’ experiences. They were so open in sharing how they overcame their struggles, it made me feel really comfortable and helped me to overcome my fears and barriers to getting to where I wanted to be.”

After completing the course, Lisa was keen to maintain this positive mindset and push herself to continue taking positive steps forward. Lisa is now working in her local medical centre and very happily told us, “I have been working as a receptionist at the medical centre for a few months now, and I love the knowledge and confidence that School of Hard Knocks’ Back in the Game course has given me to prepare me from this role. Life has changed due to my now positive outlook. I am absolutely loving my job where I am helping people and being part of the community again. Since doing the Back in the Game course I want to get out of bed and grab the day with both hands. I start my day with exercise whether it’s a local walk or a session at the gym and make a point of talking to friends and family on a regular basis. A massive thank you to the SOHK team for all the help and encouragement, all the knowledge shared and support given to me on the course and after is so appreciated.”