Tegan, one of FST’s ‘graduates’ was nominated for a “Top 50 Women in Engineering Award”. She was one of 500 women under 35 in the engineering sector. Although she didn’t win an award the fact that she got this far is a phenomenal achievement for somebody who has overcome substantial challenges in her early life to get here.
The Award is a national competition sponsored by the Daily Telegraph and WES (Women’s Engineering Society). The award recognises women under 35 who act as a role model and inspire others in engineering.
Tegan is a brilliant example of “muffled talent” i.e people whose lives have been blighted by mental health conditions or other disadvantages.
Tegan’s story shows how people’s lives can be turned around with the support of organisations like First Step Trust (FST) local authorities the NHS and employers in the wider community. We are particularly grateful for the support we have had from the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Oxleas NHS Trust.
Tegan joined FST after spending a long time in a medium secure unit. She started off working in the garage a few hours a week and (after a shaky start) with FST’s support she went on to do her Level 1 and 2 IMI Motor Vehicle Technician qualifications at the local college. She then left FST to take up a job with London Hire a large minibus and van hire company who put her through her Level 3 qualification. She then went to Aviva Bus Company where Tegan qualified for the IMI’s IRTEC license as a Bus and Coach Service Maintenance Technician.
Tegan would not have been able to achieve any of this without having the chance to deal with the issues that made her ‘unemployable’.
FST was able to offer Tegan the space to deal with her issues over 3 to 4 years. We were also able to assist her to overcome some of the barriers she faced in trying to get onto Motor Vehicle Technician courses and support her to deal with the feelings and issues that arose for her in making the transition from a ‘service user’ to service provider. FST has the expertise to deliver this for those furthest away from the labour market, but we need the help and active support of employers to do the rest.
For people accessing support from FST the potential results can literally be life changing. For employers, they will have access to this new labour force and the statutory agencies gain through the reduction on their need to provide expensive treatment programmes. The evidence around the benefits of being in work is well documented. Work is an important part of our lives and gives us a sense of belonging, purpose and value.
“Tegan is an excellent role model of other people lost in the system.” Ronnie Wilson MBE Chief Executive FST