Halima is in her 20s and came to the UK aged 5. She completed successfully a degree in Business Studies, but couldn’t find work on graduating so she stayed in the family home, helping her mother with childcare and the housework. She became very religious, but felt that her head scarf and traditional dress was a barrier in getting a job. This contributed to her becoming withdrawn and losing her self-confidence.
Halima was paired with a mentor, Zaynab. Zaynab’s background has many similarities – migration to the UK aged 10, getting a psychology degree, living with her family and wearing traditional dress. However, Zaynab succeeded in getting an administrative job in the public sector on graduation, drives her own car and is very outgoing, friendly and vivacious.
Halima’s initial meetings with Zaynab were very informal chats over cups of coffee and tea, to get to know each other and establish a relationship. Zaynab encouraged Halima to take up a volunteer role, teaching children the Koran and English in a local Saturday school, which helped build her confidence. She enjoyed working with children and volunteered on a summer play scheme. Zaynab helped Halima to create a CV, highlighting her skills and achievements from her volunteer work and other interests and hobbies. Halima started applying for jobs in the public sector and Zaynab did mock interviews with her to build her confidence further. Success came when Halima landed a role as a temporary family support worker, where her knowledge of community languages and love of children are great assets.