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Actes helps Johanne Work IT Out to restart career

When Johanne Walker was put in touch with Actes last November to refresh her IT skills, she didn’t expect to come away with renewed self-confidence, valuable work experience and would be about to embark on a new career.

The 44-year-old from Stockton had worked as a nurse at North Tees Hospital for 25 years until early 2018 when she suffered a breakdown due to difficulties in her personal life.  

Johanne comments: “When my relationship broke down and I lost the job I’d been doing for all of my adult life my confidence was badly knocked and I began struggling with anxiety and depression.  I lived off my savings for several months before finally contacting the Job Centre for help as I was ashamed of the turn my life had taken.”

With a need to update her CV and search for jobs in the health and social care sector, Johanne asked her work coach about IT courses and was referred onto Actes’ accredited IT and employability course, Work IT Out.

She adds: “I started Actes’ Work IT Out course in November and when I walked into the training room on the first day, I had no idea what a difference it would make to my life.  The course gave me a reason to get up on a morning and a structure to my day which I had been lacking but what followed was so much more than that.”

Johanne immediately clicked with the course tutor Carl and having quickly got to grips with the course content herself she found her nurturing habits returning as she helped to support other less confident learners through the course.  With a natural empathy and patience, she was formally asked to become a course volunteer so that she could further build her own self-confidence and boost her CV while she sought paid for work. 

Johanne added: “I found that I really enjoyed helping people through the practical aspects of the course and putting them at ease. You would see people walk in on the first day looking nervous and by the end we’d all be laughing and joking together. There’s a real camaraderie. I treat the volunteering role as I would a paid job and fully committed to it.”

During her time volunteering on Work IT Out and additionally Free Your Potential, Actes continued to support Johanne with employability support and life coaching through the Help Through Crisis programme for which Actes is a delivery partner.  She was also signposted to external support including Routes to Work.

With renewed confidence Johanne was able to apply for jobs feeling prepared to get back to work and as a result she has recently secured a job with UBU as an Enabler, supporting people with learning disabilities in their own homes and in shared living facilities, which she is due to start in the coming weeks.

Johanne added: “The opportunities and coaching that I’ve had from Actes have not just helped me feel myself again I feel like a better version of myself and my mindset has completely changed.  I went into the job interview more prepared than ever and with everything to gain.  I’m looking forward to starting the role where I’m doing what I enjoy which is helping people, and I’m excited for what the future holds.” 

For further information about the support available through Actes contact 01642 856 030 or visit the website