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metropolitan customer Kristina chedzey

Unemployed mum Kristina Chedzey found her confidence and a new job at Metropolitan’s Clapham Park employment club.

Kristina Chedzey’s confidence had slumped. A single parent of a young daughter with complicated medical needs, she had spent three years away from the cut and thrust of the workplace.

“I couldn’t work,” explains the Clapham Park resident. “My daughter needed several operations and I needed to be at home with her. By the time I could even think about getting a job, I’d lost a bit of self-belief.”

If confidence was one obstacle to returning to work, childcare was another. Shift work was out of the question, while a 3pm finish was vital if Kristina was to pick up her daughter from nursery.

It was only after Metropolitan employment officer Dennis Mensah invited her to his Job Club that the barriers began to come down.

He overhauled her dated CV, pointed her towards useful job websites covering a broad range of vacancies, sent job alerts and helped her write applications. “I have dyslexia,” says Kristina. “I know what I want to say, but I can’t always get it out. Dennis helped me with the wording.”

He also reminded her of what she could do. She had previously worked for Wandsworth Council children’s services, for instance, while she had taken courses and volunteered during her years at home. “I kept busy,” agrees Kristina. “Through Metropolitan, I did a Level 3 qualification in education and training and joined the Bright Ideas Trust, which teaches business skills to young people. I also did some volunteering work, such as helping to deliver family workshops at Pentonville Prison.”

Within weeks, she landed a job as a catering assistant at a nearby college, working Monday-Wednesday from 10am-3pm. “It’s easy to get to, the people are nice and it works for me and my family,” she reflects. “But it’s a short-term fix. When my daughter starts school in September, I’ll be thinking about my next move.”

She will be returning to the Job Club for guidance. “Without Dennis’ influence, I wouldn’t have taken these first steps back into work,” says Kristina. “It’s great that Metropolitan offers these kind of services to the community, giving people chances and opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have had.”